Healing Afghanistan’s heroes: inside Kandahar Regional Military Hospital

Zuma Khan, a wounded Afghan National Army soldier recovering in Kandahar Regional Military Hospital, can’t wait to get back to the fight.
12 Feb 2018

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Despite a badly injured foot, Afghan National Army soldier Juma Khan says he wants to get back to the fight as soon as possible.

Khan was driving to deliver water to an ANA outpost in Zabul when his car was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). He said his injury will not deter him from continuing to fight the enemy.

"Once I get better I’ll go back to work and continue to serve Afghanistan. I will not quit,” Khan said from his hospital bed at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

In 2017, more than 15,000 patients were treated at KRMH, more than 1,100 for injuries from gunshots or bombs. The doctors here are responsible for treating the wounded in one of the most dangerous areas of the country.

"I love taking care of the wounded patients. I am very proud that I can help a human in need. We take care of their life. It is a very great job for me,” said Dr. Ahmad Zaher.

Zaher graduated from Kabul Medical University and then went on to study in China. He said he returned to his homeland to take on the enemy from the operating room and help Afghanistan’s heroes get back to the fight.

In order to help their country’s bravest, the KRMH doctors make frequent trips to visit the American doctors at the Kandahar Air Field "Role 3” hospital to learn the latest procedures and techniques in medicine. Role 3 hospitals are fully equipped hospitals with emergency room, inpatient and outpatient capabilities, operating rooms, and a variety of specialists. The KAF Role 3 hospital is one of two in Afghanistan, and is staffed by U.S. Navy and Army medical personnel.

"We have a good relationship with the Role 3 hospital, they do training for our staff and also if we need some assistance in the treatment of our patients they are ready to help us,” said Doctor Momand, the Head Surgeon at KRMH.

The doctors at the Role 3 hospital said the learning is a two-way street.

"They don’t have the tools, they don’t have the technology and the money, but they have been able to do quite a bit for their patients. They have been very innovative without this technology, taking care of large numbers of patients,” said U.S. Navy Captain Robert Strange, a trauma surgeon at the Role 3 hospital. "We are very interested in seeing how they are accomplishing this goal.”

KMRH is a 100-bed hospital with a staff of around 175 doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses, medics and technicians; however, there is a lack of specialized doctors. With the help of the Role 3 hospital, surgeons at KMRH are continuously studying new material and performing procedures outside of their normally practiced scope of medicine. Working together they can tackle complex injuries and get their patients back to the fight.

"Our Afghan colleagues have a very busy trauma hospital and have been able to overcome challenges and save lives,” said Strange.

 
 

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