News: Provincial leadership helps improve healthcare in Paktika
Story by 1st Lt. Mark Lazane
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan-- Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team members, led by U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Vince Lopez, a Paktika PRT medical officer, toured the Sharana Hospital in Afghanistan's Paktika province, March 22, to view completed projects and receive an update regarding future hospital plans.
"We have good healthcare for the facilities and equipment that we have," said Dr. Ahmad Baseer, the public health advisor for Paktika province and a surgeon by trade. "The problem is we lack a lot of the specialty services that hospitals in Kabul and other places have. We enjoy working with the government of Afghanistan and the PRT to make some of our goals become realities."
Baseer and Dr. Wali Gul, the director of Public Health for the province, have not been in their positions long. However, their organization and knowledge of medical practices are changing the landscape of healthcare throughout the province, especially at this hospital in the center of the city, Lopez said.
Baseer guided Lopez through each wing of the hospital, pointing out initiatives on the forefront of the medical mission in the province. The Strong Foods and Clean Water programs, both funded by the PRT, have produced rapid and highly-measurable results because they are easy to implement and have low overhead, Baseer said.
The success of these programs in Paktika has led to the expansion of the program to several areas throughout the province.
Baseer also praised the dedication that his workers show for their patients.
"Our basic healthcare is equal to if not better than the healthcare in the surrounding provinces, including Khost, Ghazni and Paktya," Baseer said. "The workers do their best to provide for their patients."
The ultimate goal for Sharana Hospital is to be the showcase medical facility for Paktika province and the surrounding regions, Baseer said.
"There's really no good reason that this hospital can't develop into the type of place that can handle any patient that comes through their doors," Baseer said. "In the future, I want to have a hospital here where we don't have to transfer anyone to Kabul for a higher level of care. We want to have the money, the infrastructure and the incentive for the many specialists to come here to work because they know of what a good facility we have developed."
This future is possible with advisers such as Baseer at the helm, Lopez said.
"Dr. Baseer seems to be truly committed to the future of healthcare in this province," said Lopez. "He's very professional and really cares about the Afghan people."