Lifeliners aid local clinic
March 1, 2011
BALKH PROVINCE, Afghanistan, February 22, 2010 - Soldiers of the 101st Sustainment Brigade visited a local hospital in the Dehdadi District here to evaluate the building and necessity of medical supplies and equipment.
The project is part of the continuing Commander's Emergency Response Program of the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st SBDE, and a partnership between the U.S. Soldiers, Afghan National Army and the local government in Dehdadi.
"We visited the clinic to asset the structural and medical needs to help create a CERP project for the local population to provide healthcare support for the community," said Maj. Deidre Lockhart, brigade officer in charge of medical operations.
The 87th CSSB CERP team coordinates with the population of the Dehdadi District to find ways to improve the community. "Every month, we go to the sub-governor's meeting with the village elders," Sgt. 1st Class Nakya McDaniels, CERP team paying agent. "Other than education, they all talked about this hospital."
The hospital has the capabilities to support about 50 people, yet supports nearly 200,000 people throughout the Dehdadi District as the only hospital in the district, McDaniels said.
"Right now, they have limited area, limited operating room space, no mom and children equipment," Lockhart said. "They are limited in support of their own population. We have to help the locals as much as possible."
A majority of the equipment at the clinic is about a decade old, Lockhart said. "They really need incubators and bili lights to help the children, because the area has a horrible infant mortality rate," she said.
The CERP team plans to provide up-to-date medical equipment, as well as the skills to sustain it. "They need a medical maintenance plan," Lockhart said "Now they take the equipment back to who ever gave them the equipment. We're looking to give them equipment that will require less maintenance to make them self-sufficient."
The team also assessed the ability of the hospital to power the medical equipment. "It's outdated, corroded and in poor condition," said Charles O'Bryant, brigade safety officer. "They're looking to get new equipment, but the current electrical setup will not work for the new equipment."
The hospital also needs more space to provide medical care for the thousands of locals in the Dehdadi District. There is not enough space for the hospital to expand out, but the CERP team plans to expand up, O'Bryant said.
"We went to check the structures to see if the hospital could hold and support a second floor, instead of tearing it down completely," said Sgt. 1st Class Jerome Parker, CERP team purchasing officer.
The CERP team plans to expand the clinic, without disrupting its operations during the construction. "They don't have the room to move somewhere else in the mean time," Parker said.
The local population will be hired by the CERP team for the improvements to the hospital. "The contractors are from this area and know how important it is," McDaniels said. "They may subcontract to hurry up and get the hospital up and running."
The development of the hospital is being funded by the CERP team with the operations controlled by the clinic and local population. "We're trying to get them to build their own medical industry, so they can trust their own government, own healthcare system," Lockhart said.