Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Emergency Medicine


Background: Trauma and injury contribute to 11% of the all-cause mortality in Afghanistan. The study aimed to explore the perceptions of the healthcare providers (pre and in-hospital), hospital managers and policy makers of the public and private health sectors to identify the challenges in the provision of an effective trauma care in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Methods: A concurrent mixed method design was used, including key-informant interviews (healthcare providers, hospital managers and policy makers) of the trauma care system (N = 18) and simultaneous structured emergency care system assessment questionnaire (N = 35) from July 15 to September 25, 2019. Interviews were analyzed using content analysis approach and structured questionnaire data were descriptively analyzed.
Results: Four themes were identified that describe the challenges: 1) pre-hospital care, 2) cohesive trauma management system, 3) physical and human resources and 4) stewardship. Some key challenges were found related to scene and transportation care, in-hospital care and emergency preparedness within the wider trauma care system. Less than 25% of the population is covered by the pre-hospital ambulance system (n = 23, 65.7%) and there is no communication process between health care facilities to facilitate transfer (n = 28, 80%). Less than 25% of patients with an injury requiring emergent surgery have access to surgical care in a staffed operating theatre within 2 h of injury (n = 19, 54.2%) and there is no regular assessment of the ability of the emergency care system to mobilize resources (human and physical) to respond to disasters, and other large-scale emergencies (n = 28, 80%).
Conclusion: This study highlighted major challenges in the delivery of trauma care services across Kabul, Afghanistan. Systematic improvement in the workforce training, structural organization of the trauma care system and implementing externally validated clinical guidelines for trauma management could possibly enhance the functions of the existing trauma care services. However, an integrated state-run trauma care system will address the current burden of traumatic injury more effectively within the wider healthcare system of Afghanistan.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Health Services Research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.