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ANA learn advanced care from Thunderbird medics

By Spc. Leslie Goble ,

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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (December 8, 2011) — In a small dimly lit room with a slide projector, members of the Afghan National Army sat alert, ready to learn medical skills from basic patient assessment to more advanced techniques like identifying and treating high blood pressure.

Since July, Afghan National Army soldiers have increased their medical proficiency through classes held by trainers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The main trainer is 1st Sgt. Ronnie Hayes of Healdton, Okla.,  with Company C, 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th IBCT. He worked with nearly 50 medics from the ANA’s 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 201st Corps.

“I’ve been teaching medics on the civilian side since 1990 and have been teaching military medics since 2004,” said Hayes. “Their [ANA soldiers] motivation is as high if not higher than those back home.”

Through an interpreter the instructors are able to speak with ANA soldiers and they were able to answer the questions. The soldiers were eager to learn and the questions they asked the instructor was proof.

“Their attitudes are outstanding and the discipline is just as great in the classes,” said Hayes. “The questions they ask stick to the task at hand.”

Medics learn right in the barracks they live in. In the middle of the bay floor they pair up and go through patient assessment, displaying how they would treat wounds such as a head wound or a leg wound. With the knowledge of basic patient assessment, ANA soldiers can quickly find out what is wrong with the patient and treat life threatening wounds first, giving them a better chance to survive their wounds.

During a recent class on blood pressure, the soldiers were taught what causes it and what they can do to alleviate it with either a change in diet or medication.

U.S. Army Col. Richard Hines from Blue Hill, Maine, attached to company C. 700th BSB taught the advanced class which included what medications to give and for what symptoms.

“These are new classes we haven’t seen before,” said ANA 1st Lt. Mohamad Tariq, 5th Kandak executive officer and lab technician. “We now have more knowledge of medical techniques and how to treat patients, and we appreciate all the training.”

After the class they stayed and had chai and snacks and talked more in depth about certain medical situations that they have seen in the past.