News | Jan. 30, 2013

USACE completes construction of medical facility in Shindand

By Jasmine Chopra Sgt., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

HERAT, Afghanistan — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction Jan. 29 of a new medical facility in Shindand district, Herat province.

According to the World Health Organization, Afghanistan is suffering from one of the worst health crises in the world. Currently, only four out of every 10 Afghans have access to basic healthcare.

The facility will be delivered to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health. The hospital supports the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s goal of creating and sustaining a health system that can, in time, be maintained by Afghanistan.

An Afghan-owned and operated firm, employing local Afghan laborers, constructed the $4.8 million facility with oversight by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A local project engineer and a quality assurance representative, both independent from the Afghan construction firm, were contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to serve as the project’s Afghan technical experts. Graduates of the civil engineering program at Herat University, the experts visited the project site frequently, ensured workmanship was adequate and facilitated progress.

“I felt especially committed to working on construction of a hospital because this facility will mean people in Shindand will no longer have to travel long distances to Herat city to get the medical attention they need,” said Shafi, the Afghan project engineer.

“Projects like these are useful to everyday, ordinary people and strengthen the relationship between Afghans and Americans.”

The 28-bed facility includes emergency and operating rooms, labs, diagnostic imaging and clinic areas, waiting rooms and administrative offices. Bearing in mind Afghan sensibilities, separate zones for men and women were included in the design and construction.

“I’m honored to have served on the Shindand Hospital project because this facility has helped Afghans help themselves and if used as designed, will continue to help Afghans help themselves,” said Jerad McIntyre, a USACE civil engineer who served as the American project engineer on the Shindand Hospital project.

“Working side-by-side my Afghan counterparts and delivering a high-quality facility that may improve the health of so many people has been a significant experience in my life,” said McIntyre, who deployed to Afghanistan from the USACE Mobile District and is a 2008 graduate of Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Although not open to the public yet, the facility will provide basic, urgent and emergency health care for up to 150,000 residents and will be staffed primarily by Afghan medical professionals.