Inside an Afghan security forces' hospital
September 29, 2012
CAMP HERO, Afghanistan - As Afghan National Security Forces work to rid the country of insurgents, wartime casualties become a sobering reality for the country, especially in Afghanistan's highly-active southern region.
Doctors at Kandahar Regional Medical Center have embraced this challenge and are working every day to care of Afghan security force members and their families.
The hospital, located on the Afghan National Army's Camp Hero, specializes in the care of ANA soldiers and Afghan police officers.
KRMH is staffed exclusively by Afghan doctors.
"In terms of value to Afghanistan, this hospital is a shining star of capability. They're able to provide for the trauma needs of Afghan soldiers and police in the most combat intense part of the country," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Savage, military training advisory team chief and mentor to hospital staff.
The 100-bed hospital has admitted 1,050 patients since the end of March, while also providing various types of outpatient care.
Dr. Mohammad Sadiq Wardak, chief of Surgery, believes the staff's success can be attributed to its professionalism and strong work ethic.
"It starts from the top at the senior surgeon all the way to the junior surgeon. They can trust each other, his knowledge and his experience," said Sadiq. "Here, as a general surgeon, we are doing [what] is required [of] a neurosurgeon."
Despite having no specialized surgeons, the hospital boasts a 95.4 percent survival rate for the war-wounded.
Savage says the versatile trauma surgeons must also forget any tribal and organizational prejudices when caring for patients, whether they are soldiers, police officers, detainees or Taliban members.
"They are doctors first, they treat them all," said Savage. "[With] as few resources as they have, they're running a hospital in a warzone and they're doing it amazingly."
The hospital now has one last hurdle to jump before it can be run independently without the help of coalition partners.
"The only challenge we face is that all of our supplies are imported from the outside. That is the only thing with which we are concerned," said Sadiq. "From medical side, we can take over the patients."
He said, "Simply put, if we all went away, they'd be able to get it done for their patients. For the soldiers, they need to have a place to get care, they need to know there is a place to get care. This is the place."