30 Mar. 2009
PR# 2009-301

ANA medics training to save their own

KABUL, Afghanistan - International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat medics from the 1st Battalion, The Rifles, Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) have been teaching the Afghan National Army (ANA) medical skills.

Approximately 18 British Royal Navy and Army medics have been working with their counterparts in the Afghan Medical Company to help them build their own system of military medical care.

The OMLT members provided training in the latest life-saving battlefield casualty drills and techniques. Basic lessons in anatomy, the importance of hygiene and simple first aid instruction have progressed to lessons in more complicated life and limb-saving techniques. ISAF medics regularly treat wounded Afghan personnel on joint operations, sharing their skills in the process.

The ANA has also expanded the numbers of its soldiers receiving medical training. The ANA Medical Company now runs its own three-week courses, complete with battlefield medical exercises and evacuation drills. In addition to this training, the facilities and infrastructure of the ANA Medical Company have been improved with a new 18-bed clinic which can provide care for injured or ill Afghan National Security Forces.

Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) Andrew Baker has been mentoring the ANA Garrison’s lead Doctor, Dr Naseer, by providing guidance and clinical expertise. RMO Baker holds joint clinics, sharing his medical knowledge with his Afghan colleague. There is also an arrangement between the ANA hospital and ISAF’s Camp Bastion hospital. Twice a week, Dr Naseer and two or three ANA patients visit the hospital for diagnosis and treatment from the ISAF specialists. This has the added benefit of demonstrating the close partnership between ISAF and the ANA to the other Afghan patients in the wards, and helps ISAF staff to understand more about cultural considerations when treating Afghan patients.

“We are nearing the end of our tour now and can look back on a hugely satisfying six months in which the Afghan medics have improved in so many ways,” said RMO Baker. “The greatest improvement has been the ANA’s ability to treat their own more complicated cases – they recently, accurately diagnosed a case of malaria, quickly evacuating the soldier back to their field hospital for prompt and correct treatment. Using the ANA clinic facilities appropriately is rapidly reducing the ANA reliance on ISAF and delivers their own sustainable medical capabilities.”

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/