Feb. 20, 2008 —
An Afghan National Army medic examines the ears of a baby girl brought into a clinic near the Farah fire base for an ear infection, Jan. 8. (U.S. Army Photo)
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Feb. 17, 2008) — Medics from the Afghan National Army’s 201st Kandak are currently training with Coalition medics in a hands-on environment to better treat their fellow soldiers and Afghan citizens.
“I received classroom instruction in Kabul, but here I get to practice what I have learned,” said Abrahim Rahimi, a 21-year-old ANA medic who has been in the Afghan National Army for just over a year.
ANA medics attend Afghan Ministry of Public Health-approved combat lifesaving classes taught by Navy Chief Petty Officer James J. Cartier.
Cartier stepped into the role of trainer two months ago and is pleased with what he has seen from the ANA so far.
“I love to teach, and I love the interaction. As long as the medics learn something every day, I know I’m doing my job,” Cartier said. “They are eager to learn and they want to know everything I know.”
As a result of the training, ANA medics “are more confident and their time of treatment, from start to finish, is faster,” Cartier said.
“I am more confident and better able to help my fellow soldiers now,” said Rahimi.
In addition to battlefield first aid training, Cartier supervises ANA students working at a clinic located near a combined military outpost in Farah Province. There, ANA medics learn family practice medicine under the instruction of Coalition medics, physician’s assistants, doctors and Afghan Ministry of Public Health officials, while providing much-needed free medical care to Afghan citizens.
Learning family practice medicine will give the ANA medics the skills they need to become well-rounded care givers.
“They learn family practice medicine so they can better care for their soldiers,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kelley A. Newman, a physician’s assistant who volunteers at the clinic. “When they are out in the villages, they can provide better care for the people.”
ANA medics who learn how to treat ailments of Afghan villagers earn their appreciation and respect. This is important because one of the most effective ways to make a positive impact with the local population is to provide medical care, alleviating their pain, explained a Coalition forces medic.
ANA medic Mir Sayed enjoys working at the clinic because it gives him an opportunity to enhance his skills and allows him to make a difference in the community by helping people who may be too poor to go to a hospital.
After completing their rotations at the clinic, ANA medics will have a better idea of what to expect when treating their soldiers and in the villages, said the Coalition forces medic.
At the end of the training program, ANA medics receive a certificate. But, the students take away much more than that. ANA soldiers receive the hands-on training they will need, not only to provide lifesaving medical treatment to their fellow soldiers on the battlefield, but also to tend to the needs of Afghan citizens in remote and isolated sections of Afghanistan.