Friday, February 20, 2009


One of the teachers at a midwife training center in Gardez City, Afghanistan, talks about what the class needs, Feb. 17, 2009. The teachers asked for more training aids and computers to run multimedia lessons. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III

American Forces Press Service

Team in Afghanistan Looks to Double Health Care Access

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARDEZ, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2009 – The walls of the Paktia provincial hospital are a bleak, dirty, two-tone, painted gray along the lower half and lime-green to the ceiling. Charred electrical wires poke from the plastered walls, hot-wired with no caps, covers or even electrical tape binding them.

Its halls reek of a mix of disinfectant and an odor that comes from having too many patients and too few rooms.

There is no light, save for that spilling in from the windows and doors. The hospital runs its lights and its lifesaving equipment using a high-powered generator. But it has only enough fuel to operate six hours a day. The fuel is saved for when critical care must be provided.

This 30-bed hospital in Gardez City is the largest and provides the best care in the province, said Air Force Capt. James E. Parris, who visited there this week to meet with its director and survey its needs.

Parris is a physician’s assistant with the Paktia Provincial Reconstruction Team, and he’s charged with assessing the health care needs of the province and making recommendations for projects and purchases.

Much of the hospital’s equipment is old and needs to be replaced. Parts are not even available for the leaking, 15-year-old anesthesia machine.

“I think it gives the people in the operating room more gas than it does the patient,” Parris joked. ...
read more here.

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