06 Nov 2007

PR# 2007-698

PRT medics train, treat Afghans in Panjshir

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghans from remote villages, unreachable by vehicle, climbed over mountains and crossed valley rivers to participate in a recent medical engagement provided by the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team recently.

More than 400 Afghans received medical attention in the far-flung Paryan district during the engagement that provided follow-up training for staff at a Provincial sub-clinic on Saturday and continued two hours further north in a private residence on Sunday.

To aid the sick and injured as far as six hours away from Forward Operating Base Lion, the PRT put together an overnight mission that combined the medical and civil affairs sections in coordination with Afghan National Police for security. The joint service team on the mission included U.S. servicemembers, in addition to a civilian from the Army Corps of Engineers, and several Afghan interpreters.

“This type of training and assistance is invaluable for us,” said Dr. Khewaq Mirza, clinic staff. “The people here appreciate the additional medications that the PRT provides that are unattainable locally and expensive because of transportation costs and other circumstances.”

The Panjshiris are a mountain-dwelling people seemingly as tough as the terrain they inhabit. Locals with medical conditions as significant as malignant cancer down to joint aches and back pains came to see the medical team.

“Sometimes the simplest things like iodized salt or multivitamins can make a world of difference up here,” said Capt. Kevin Kubly, physician assistant. “Combining our assistance with training Afghan staff adds to the clinics’ capability and makes the mission a true engagement.”

A village midwife also received training from Tech. Sgt. Jenina Rose and Senior Airman Alicia Woods.

“We were able to assess and help a lot of people” said Woods. “Some folks had to be referred to main medical facilities, but at least now they and the staff know the status of their condition.”

“It’s a very positive and rewarding experience to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Afghan providers,” said Sergeant Rose. “The Panjshiris see the interaction between us, especially with the ladies and it seems to put them at ease.”

The Afghans showed their appreciation for the team by providing a traditional palau lunch consisting of rice, beef and naan bread.

Before departing on the five-hour return trip to FOB Lion, the team provided several hundred bags of rice and beans along with radio and toys for the elders to distribute among the villagers.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/