HERAT, Afghanistan -- Herat Regional Military Hospital doubled in size and capability when Maj. Gen. Mohiuddin Ghori, Afghan National Army (ANA) 207th Corps chief of staff, officially opened a newly built 26,400-square foot annex, Jan. 8, adding ward space for 50 additional patient beds, extra administrative space, and expanded outpatient treatment capability.

The $3.52 million project is the result of a partnership between the ANA and NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A). The design and construction was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working closely with the Afghan National Security Forces leadership, to provide an enhanced medical capacity on time and under budget.

"The ANSF recognize the need to provide the best quality health care for their soldiers' welfare in order to not only accomplish their security mission, but also professionalize their Army," said Col. Bradley W. Booth, NTM-A's Regional Support Command-West commander.

"The hospital addition project, led by Afghan Engineer District-South, represents the best aspects of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and NATO coalition working together to implement a design from the bottom up to meet the present and future needs of the ANA," Booth said. "The new facility will provide the ANSF a critical operational medical support capability needed to win the peace and provide for a secure and independent Afghanistan."

HRMH provides medical care primarily to Afghan National Police and ANA servicemembers and their families. However, it also provides advanced medical care for severally ill and injured civilians who are unable to access the local community hospitals.

"Our medical facility is on par with a typical hospital you would find most anywhere in the United States," said Col. Sayed Azim, HRMH doctor and commander. "We have the same medical testing and diagnostic equipment, along with fully-equipped modern operating rooms and intensive care units."

Besides providing a modern, high-quality environment in which to conduct patient care, the hospital also serves as the setting in which NTM-A mentors train ANA clinicians on the latest medical techniques and biomedical equipment. This provides staff members an opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills in diagnosis and patient treatment, Azim said.

"Our physicians and clinicians are very adept at what they do, but certainly benefit greatly by working with our NTM-A partners and visiting doctors from around the world," Azim said. "We now have the facility and equipment required for our doctors to perform excellent patient care and we look forward to the opportunity to add cardiac and ophthalmology specialists in the future."

The hospital employs 160 medical staff, and it treated more than 30,000 patients last year. As the ANA increases in size, and as more family members are able to access the hospital's services, Azim said he expects the faculty could likely grow substantially to meet the demand for medical services.

The 12-month construction project is part of a multi-phased long-term plan designed to address the needs of the growing Afghan National Security Forces. The Afghan army now stands at nearly 150,000 soldiers, up from 65,000 only three years ago.

Page last updated Sat January 15th, 2011 at 06:12