01 Feb. 2009
PR# 2009-107

Afghan and ISAF doctors join efforts to care for local Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan - Three days a week, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan doctors come together at the Host Nation Medical Clinic at Forward Operating Base Price to offer free medical care to local Afghan residents who often cannot receive medical aid elsewhere.

“It’s just another way we can reach out to the Afghans,” said Danish Senior Medical Officer Nina Rummel. “Sometimes people come in with serious ailments, but often they’re simple aches and pains that people in other countries with access to medicine could easily take care of themselves.”

For serious injuries or illnesses, Rummel said the clinic will treat people within its capability, but often the more traumatic cases are evacuated to other facilities. Currently, there are three medical facilities at FOB Price that all work together to offer medical care to Afghans, but Rummel said the main focus has been to offer care through the Host Nation Clinic.

“We are in the same training mentality as the operational side,” she said. “And that’s to help the Afghan doctors with their care as oppose to take over. I offer thought processes and suggestions and not diagnoses. It’s important to do this because we want to see Afghans taking care of Afghans and only offer our support as needed. I think it’s working nicely.”

Dr. Tabatabai Zahir, who is head medical officer of the Host Nation Clinic, said he treats an average of 100 people each day the clinic is open with help from ISAF doctors.

“It’s often a challenge to see so many cases,” he said. “With the help from ISAF we can take care of the easier cases, because sometimes, they are just small things people come in for.”

Zahir, who has worked at the clinic for more than a year, said it has been through the use of information leaflets and strong word of mouth that local residents have become aware of the free care offered through the facility.

“People come from all over the district,” he said. “Only with continued use can we keep operating.  Eventually we would like to see this kind of care offered in the major area of Gureshk. With the training and aid from the ISAF doctors here, we will be able to do that in the future.”

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/