News: Afghan army medical capabilities on the rise in Herat
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
HERAT, Afghanistan – Since March 22, Herat City has been in a transitional period, a status very evident when visiting the Herat Regional Medical Hospital, an Afghan National Army run hospital on Camp Zafar in Herat province.
About 160 Afghans encompass the medical staff at the hospital and it has the capability to treat 100 patients simultaneously in a variety of wards, with surge capability up to 200 in an emergency situation.
In 2010, the Herat medical staff treated more than 30,000 patients, said Afghan Maj. Gen. Mohiuddin Ghori, 207th Corps chief of staff.
“We have the responsibility to take care of [Afghan National Security Forces] and immediate family members stationed in Herat, Badghis, Ghor and Farah Provinces,” said Col. (Dr.) Said Azim Hussieni, HRMH commander.
In the intensive care ward, nine patients were being treated yesterday. Four Afghan National Police officers were among those nine and were receiving treatment for injuries suffered during a roadside bomb explosion near Bala Murghab, Baghdis province, April 13.
“I was in a convoy and am not sure what happened. All I remember is a big explosion and coalition forces bringing me to this hospital,” recalled Afghan police officer Gulah Mad. “Since arrival here, I’ve been treated very good. This hospital has an all-Afghan staff, which allows me to easily communicate and is very important to me.”
The Herat medical facility is one of four Ministry of Defense hospitals in Afghanistan, and is renowned for having the top preventive medicine program in the country, Hussieni said.
“We have a saying that ‘A healthy army is a successful army,’” Hussieni said. “We believe in keeping the [Afghan National Army] healthy and fit for service. By striving to provide top-notch patient care and running the best preventative medicine program, [we enable] a healthy army.”
One capability currently lacking in Ministry of Defense hospitals is air medical evacuations. For air evacuations, the Afghans still rely heavily on coalition forces.
However, at Shindand Air Base, the Afghan Air Force is building capability which will eventually allow them to secure their skies, mobilize soldiers and accomplish air evacuations.