Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Helmand hospitals benefit from refurbishment

Two Helmand hospitals have reopened following refurbishment by Afghan contractors and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) engineers in projects overseen by British Military Stabilisation Support Teams.

Gereshk Hospital has been entirely rewired, providing a new mains electrical supply. New power generators and a new water supply system have been fitted to improve the conditions in the hospital and the quality of care it can provide to its patients.

In addition, a specialist waste incinerator was supplied and shipped to the hospital to allow the safe and hygienic destruction of medical waste.

Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Dove, of the Gereshk Military Stabilisation and Support Team, said:

"It is extremely rewarding to see projects such as these move from the drawing board to actual construction, knowing that they will help the local population in the future. There are always projects ongoing and it's great to be involved in one of the key reasons that we are out here."

Bost Hospital in Lashkar Gah has also undergone a similar refurbishment with newly fitted cubicles to provide greater patient privacy. Conditions within the hospital have been further improved by the addition of new water supply and air conditioning systems complemented by a new electrical supply and wiring.

Recently, new beds, mattresses and laboratory equipment were provided along with other supplies of essential medical equipment donated by Estonia and delivered by ISAF forces.

The ISAF military engineers worked closely with the local government structures and civil ministries on the projects, developing designs and overseeing the projects through design to construction and the eventual completion and handover to local Afghan authorities.

The British Military Stabilisation Support Teams have been providing support in each of the provincial towns to assist with projects such as these.

Their approach is not for ISAF to complete the work themselves, but to help the local government structures develop the project from start to finish, involving local contractors, setting up cash-for-work schemes and correctly managing the project. Through such work, local structures and skills are developed, providing invaluable experience for the future.

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