GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Early this summer, four Afghan National Police officers were conducting a mounted patrol when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. The four officers were rushed first to Ghazni Provincial hospital for emergency care, and then brought to Forward Operating Base Ghazni for further treatment.
After being stabilized, all four were flown to Bagram Airfield where two of the officers died.
General Sherzai, Ghazni Provincial ANP chief, asked a contract police mentoring program specialist what could be done to help save the lives of his policemen after sustaining battlefield injuries. The contractor quickly answered: “Teach them combat life saving.”
Upon the request of Afghan police mentors, corpsmen assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni created a new medical training course.
The course was specifically designed to train the attendees at a level above basic CLS, enabling them to take the knowledge back to fellow policemen in their own districts.
Afghan police officers from six districts in Ghazni attended the course. Each officer was handpicked by his district’s Chief of Police to attend the two days of instruction on FOB Ghazni.
On the first day, the policemen learned hemorrhage control, how to prepare patients for medical evacuation by helicopter, treating for tension pneumothorax, starting IVs and basic first aid.
“I was surprised at the level these guys were already at,” said Lt. Joseph Baugh, Naval Physicians Assistant, Ghazni PRT. “They asked a lot of good questions and seemed really interested and eager to learn. They weren’t afraid of starting IVs and being hands on.”
The second day of class allowed CLS students to train ANP candidates attending introductory training at FOB Ghazni. This allowed the newly minted trainers an opportunity to hone their teaching skills under the supervision of Baugh and his corpsmen.
When asked how they felt about the training they received, all the policemen agreed that they had learned a lot from the course, and felt confident about bringing their skills back to their districts to teach others how to save lives.
As the Afghan National Security Forces across Afghanistan become further integrated with Coalition forces, it becomes increasingly important to have the ANSF trained on the same equipment used by Coalition forces.
A large portion of the ANP’s job is to protect and serve the civilians in their districts. Giving them basic first aid skills and the ability to treat combat injuries will enable them to apply these skills to the civilian communities as well.
“Certainly this will boost the perception of the ANP among the civilian communities,” said Baugh. “Once the ANP is on the ground and able to provide care for them in an emergency, and they recognize that the policemen have the skills and the willingness to treat them, it will enhance their confidence in the ANP.”
Future plans include training Afghan police to perform more advanced medical life-saving techniques.
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