Afghan forces provide medical aid to villagers

Bagram Air Base, January 3, 2008 (American Forces Press Service): Afghan national security forces and Public Health Ministry personnel, assisted by coalition forces, treated 56 Afghan citizens Dec. 30 at the Khas Village clinic in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province.

More than 5,000 Afghans have received medical care at the clinic since it opened a year ago. The clinic originally opened in a smaller structure, but soon required a larger facility to handle the number of patients and the higher standard of care patients needed, officials said. The Public Health Ministry built a larger structure with an operating room, X-ray room and pharmacy.

The medical staff was increased to handle the larger patient load, enhancing care provided to villagers throughout the district. A woman doctor, who has delivered six babies in the past year, was added to the clinic staff to treat women. Villagers have responded positively to the addition, officials said.

Afghan National Army doctors and medics staff the clinic six days a week with help from three coalition force doctors and medics from a nearby combined military outpost. The teamwork creates an environment for the doctors and medics to learn from and mentor each other.

We are grateful that we can learn together and discuss techniques and different approaches to medicine, an Afghan National Army medic said.

Some patients require more comprehensive medical care than is available at the clinic. Over the past year, Afghan and coalition doctors have worked together to move 20 patients needing a higher level of care to more advanced medical facilities in other parts of the country.

News about the care we provide has reached many tribes and villages, a coalition medic said. The Afghan citizens are allowing us to deliver their babies, which is a sign that they trust the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to provide for their welfare, whereas the Taliban can't and won't.