Afghan, Coalition Forces Provide Medical Aid to Hundreds of Afghans
September 5, 2007
WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service, Sept. 6, 2007) - Afghan national security forces, advised by coalition forces, recently brought medical assistance to Afghan civilians in Shewan, Farah province, Afghanistan.
The assistance, which took place Aug. 30, was possible only after a large-scale Afghan force movement caused insurgents to flee the city. Before the operation, Shewan was considered the most Taliban infested area in the Farah Province, coalition officials said.
Almost all of the medical treatment was provided by local Afghan doctors.
"We announced the MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) in the days leading up to the event, and minutes after we started, we already had about 150 people waiting to be treated," said a coalition officer who was having conversations with local nationals to gauge public thoughts and feelings.
The team of Afghan doctors treated 811 villagers, including 235 men and 576 women and children during the one-day program. Common complaints were musculoskeletal pain, upset stomach, and dehydration.
"I can't believe the turnout today," Dr. Darishyar, a Farah province surgical doctor, said. "Shewan is becoming a safer place. I enjoy this and look forward to helping my countrymen again."
Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Police officers provided security for the event. Before patients could be examined, they were registered into a national citizen database and were scanned for dangerous items.
"I really wanted to do this job today," one Afghan soldier said. "It makes me happy when we can give things to people who really need it. This kind of event is why I'm happy to be in the (Afghan National Army)."
Overall, coalition and Afghan leaders alike dubbed the event a success. More medical engagements are planned for the future as well as various civil affairs projects.
"ANSF and coalition cooperation with Afghan civilians signals a bright future for the people of Shewan," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a CJTF-82 spokesperson. "Residents can look forward to additional support from the government and seeing their city grow and develop to be one of the best in Afghanistan."
<b>Army Medics Assist in Nangahar Province</b>
Three mini-van passengers traveling from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan, were injured in a four-vehicle accident Aug. 21 near Torkham Gate, Nangahar province.
Waqas Hayat, a garment worker from Peshawar working in Kabul, suffered serious injuries to his head while two other passengers suffered minor injuries during the accident. All three men were initially treated for their injuries at Camp Torkham.
Mr. Hayat, who is a former English student of the American Institute of Language in Peshawar, was able to communicate with Pfc. Sarah Becker, a medic with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Special Troops Battalion who treated his injuries.
Aca,!A"I was the worst student in my [English] class,Aca,!A? Mr. Hayat said modestly after being complimented on his English.
Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm learning your language; youAca,!a,,cre learning mine,Aca,!A? Pfc. Becker said.
Pfc. Becker, who hails from Greenwhich, Ohio, and has only been in the Army for 17 months, performed like a seasoned veteran as she communicated with and treated her patient.
Aca,!A"I took a deep breath,Aca,!A? Pfc. Becker said. Aca,!A"Then I started with his head and moved down to his feet to look for any major bleeding. After my initial assessment, I checked for less severe injuries.Aca,!A?
Pfc. Becker kept her Army training in mind as she worked and credited her training as the source of her professionalism.
Aca,!A"I just did my job,Aca,!A? Pfc. Becker said.
Another passenger suffered multiple lacerations to his head, said Spc. John Cordova, a medic with the 66th Military Police Company stationed out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
Aca,!A"He was lucky. It could have been worse,Aca,!A? Spc. Cordova said, a San Diego native.
The last of the third passengers suffered only minor jaw and ankle injuries. All of the passengers walked away from the scene.
The passenger van was traveling at a high speed toward the Pakistan border at Torkham Gate and would not slow down after repeated requests from the passengers, according to Mr. Hayat.
(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release. Also, Army Pfc. Daniel M. Rangel, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to this article)