CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan -- The Afghan National Army’s Surgeon General Maj. Gen. Mussa Wardak visited Camp Shorabak to celebrate the opening of the Afghan Army’s newest medical facility, Aug. 21.
Maj. Gen. Wardak along with Maj. Gen. Sayed Malouk, the commander of the 215th Corps, ANA, and Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, the commander of Regional Command (Southwest), cut the ceremonial ribbon, signifying the opening of the Camp Shorabak Trauma Center aboard the ANA base in Helmand province.
The facility, which will provide a significant increase in the ANA’s ability to care for sick, wounded and injured patients, features modern medical equipment, an emergency room, an operating room, an intensive care unit and general patient ward rooms.
“Now we have a lot of new and better equipment,” said Dr. Hamed Jalazai, the officer in charge of the Camp Shorabak Trauma Center. “We have an ultrasound machine, an X-ray machine, better beds, better machines and a higher standard of equipment for this clinic. It feels very good because we can help our soldiers better now that we are a better equipped.”
During the past six months, the ANA transformed a warehouse on their base into the new trauma center, a feat that greatly impressed the ANA’s surgeon general.
“Two and half years ago when I visited here we did not have any medical facilities,” Maj. Gen. Wardak said while speaking to the clinic staff. “It’s your effort and your work that helped build and make this facility. This is not a mobile clinic; it’s a facility with all modern equipment. We have all the equipment from A-Z.”
Prior to the center opening, the ANA could only perform nominal patient care, but the new trauma facility will enhance the medical staff’s capabilities.
“Before, they had a Trauma Treatment Unit,” said Navy Cmdr. Jeff Stancil, the RC(SW) deputy command surgeon, and native of Marietta, Georgia. “They could do minimal stabilization, but this adds four (emergency room) beds – the initial medical stabilization – and should a patient need surgical intervention, it has two fully equipped (operating room) suites that they could be moved to, as well as intensive care units on the other side.”
Stancil, who is deployed to Helmand from the Navy Medicine Education and Training Command in Jacksonville, Florida, said he is confident in the ANA’s ability to run the clinic, which he described as “the most advanced trauma center certainly in Helmand province, but probably in southern Afghanistan.”
Maj. Gen. Wardak urged the ANA medical staff to continue to learn from the RC(SW) advisors, but then they needed to be prepared to stand on their own feet to serve and treat their wounded soldiers.
Regional Command (Southwest) will transfer full security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces by the end of 2014, and U.S. and coalition partners will leave the province after more than five years of counterinsurgency and security force assistance operations.
“It’s your job to take care of our soldiers,” Maj. Gen. Wardak said to the medical staff. “Make sure you treat them with respect, treat them professionally, take care of them and take care of them in this hospital.
“Serving one sick person, helping one wounded person, providing humanity and showing compassion – doing those deeds is better than taking a thousand ‘hajis.’”