News: USACE facilitates medical mission in Daykundi province
Story by Karla Marshall
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Access to healthcare is not always possible in Afghanistan, but for 33 men and boys in the remote village of Miramor in Daykundi province, much-needed care came to them Nov. 14 courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
USACE’s Afghanistan Engineer District-South periodically visits project sites in remote locations to check on the progress of construction. For sites like Miramor, where the district is overseeing the construction of a uniformed police district headquarters, those visits require helicopter transport and occasionally there are empty seats.
This was the fourth trip to Miramor for USACE and each time they bring school supplies and other small gifts for the kids.
On this visit, Afghan nurse 2nd Lt. Fida Mohammed, from the Regional Uniformed Police Headquarters surgeon’s office near Kandahar, rode along to treat Miramor villagers while district employees inspected ongoing construction.
“I got the idea to bring along a medical provider from our security detail medic, Spc. Justin Gleisner,” said Lt. Col. John Carpenter, the South District’s chief of intelligence. “We try to accomplish multiple objectives on our visits to these remote sites because scheduling travel is such a challenge - not just for us, but for the Afghan Regional Uniformed Police as well.
“The Hazara people have very little access to healthcare so bringing providers to them seemed like an easy thing to do. Plus, enabling the uniformed police to provide healthcare helps them develop a better relationship with the Miramor community.”
Gleisner played a significant role in the success of the mission said Carpenter. “He procured the medical equipment and medications, outlined the requirements and helped 2nd Lt. Mohammed treat as many patients as possible.”
According to Maj. David Steele, an Afghan Uniformed Police mentor assigned to 404th Maiwand ANP who has traveled with USACE to Miramor in the past, the mission demonstrated the benefits of having an Afghan Uniformed Police district headquarters close by.
“For me, the best part was when the district chief of police said he would like to have his police attend some of the medical training conducted by the regional headquarters,” Steele said.
The men and boys were treated for various minor ills, primarily cold and flu, sinus infections and urinary tract infections. “As a long time combat advisor, the tangible appreciation of the Miramor community affirmed the value of this mission. If we are invited again, we would like to bring a female medic so that we can treat women and girls as well,” Steele concluded.
“Our primary reason for coming to these remote sites is to inspect ongoing construction,” said Carpenter. “But each time we visit, we recognize more and more faces. This is the best kind of soldiering because we see the tangible rewards of building infrastructure and connecting with the people in these remote areas.”