Medical Facility Enables Afghans to Help Afghans

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NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan Story by 2nd Lt. Douglas Magill

HELMAND, Afghanistan (April 22, 2011) – Shamal Moman is glad to be in Helmand province; Bruce Webb is happy to have him there.

Moman, a physician from Kandahar, is the Afghanistan National Army doctor for the newly opened Regional Military Training Center at Camp Shorab, Helmand province. Webb, a U.S. Navy lieutenanat commander, and Ontario Rogers, an Air Force staff sergeant, make up the mentoring team.

“He’s great,” Webb said. “He’s very knowledgeable and capable. He’s doing a great job.”

“I’m happy to come to Helmand to help,” Moman said. “It’s very dangerous and it’s an important mission.”

Moman’s mission includes providing medical support to the RMTC as it hosts its first ANA Basic Training course. The course started April 9 and will finish June 2. Moman is serving a three-month rotation with the RMTC. After that, the G-1 (Personnel) for the Afghan National Army’s surgeon heneral will fill the position with the next physician.

Moman is the sole doctor at the RMTC and is authorized seven medics with four having arrived. Webb is there for mentoring purposes only. The treating of soldiers and the operation of the facility is conducted totally by the Afghan National Army.

“I am here to mentor the medical staff,” said Webb. “They have to provide the doctor. That’s why it’s so important to have a quality doctor such as Shamal.”

Webb has helped build capacity in more ways than one. Not only is he helping mentor the medical staff, but he helped construct the building as well. Along with Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Estrada, who is a structural craftsman, Webb helped build the interior and the facility’s woodwork from scratch.

Webb assembled the walls, partitions and furniture out of woodwork while Estrada focused supplying electricity to the facility as well as helping with the interior.

“I’m proud for the soldiers here,” said Moman. “They are here 24 hours a day. I’m proud for them and I’m also proud for the building too, the new construction. We have electricity and it is safe.”

After Moman’s three-month tour ends, he will go back to his job at the health department in Kandahar. He has practiced medicine for more than 30 years.

“When the Taliban came, I lost my job,” Moman said. “I worked in Pakistan for 10 years. There was a small clinic there that I worked at.”

A lot has changed since then.

“I’ve seen much progress,” he said. “The growth. The medics. Females and males going to school. The new Army and the helicopters.”

The Regional Military Training Center is currently training single class of 850 recruits. At full capacity, the facility is capable of handling three classes at a single time, totaling 2,100 recruits and 300 cadre. Each facility has its own medical team.

Working in the Afghan National Army gives Moman hope for Afghanistan’s future.

“It is my hope for Afghanistan that everybody helps each other and are friendly like brothers,” said Moman. “They work shoulder-to-shoulder. This way, we can rebuild Afghanistan.”

“No more fighting,” he said. “We take the pen and start our work. No more killing each other.”