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PRT assesses progress of health clinic construction

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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 19, 2011) — Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team civil engineers met with Afghan site supervisors to conduct a quality assurance check on the Showat Village basic health clinic July 12.

The meeting was a part of the PRT’s ongoing partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to assess development projects sponsored by GIRoA. 

The village of Showat is a medically under-served area, as it lies in the mountainous region of Paktya Province, said U.S. Air Force Capt. Tyler Johnson, Paktya PRT civil engineer from San Antonio. 

Access to health care is a large problem in the region; the closest health facility to Showat Village is more than two hours walking distance, he added. 

“We hope to solve the health problems by having a clinic at our area,” Haji Lajar, Showat Village elder, said.  

The standard health clinic will see 30 to 50 patients daily and deliver 20 to 30 babies monthly.

With a dedicated location for health care, maternal and child mortality will decrease, and overall village health will increase, said Johnson. 

An Afghan construction company first broke ground on the project in March, and is ahead of schedule, with 75 percent of construction complete. 

Before GIRoA awards a project, it must be nominated as part of the overall Provincial Development Plan, then approved through the Provincial Development Council.  This process ensures projects are prioritized by GIRoA officials according to community needs.

“Typically, projects are nominated by a local villager who identifies a need,” Johnson said. “The project is nominated in a Shura (village meeting), and is then nominated to the district sub-governor to be placed on the PDP.”

Paktya Gov. Juma Hamdard, places a special emphasis on project quality, said Johnson. 

“In the past, some projects were built sub-standard,” he said. “Our joint goal is to maintain sustainable value for all current and future projects built within Paktya.”

The PRT is currently partnering with GIRoA on 14 projects, worth nearly $28 million, to include road reconstruction and refurbishment of district community centers.  Such partnering efforts help reinforce provincial and local expertise, and are an integral to assisting GIRoA in the transition to a sustainable and secure Afghanistan.