KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — Seventy pallet-sized containers full of about $600,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies categorized as federal excess personal property were donated to an Afghan hospital by Regional Command South’s Afghan National Security Forces Development office.
As U.S. and coalition forces downgrade in the region, a large amount of equipment, materials and supplies have accumulated at Kandahar Air Field, a central logistical hub for the area. To make best use of these items, specially-appointed American officials decipher the best ways to manage U.S. owned property outside its borders. One way they do that is by categorizing materiel as excess, and therefore available to donate where needed. Afghan doctors and U.S. personnel identified that Mirwais Hospital had a significant deficit of supplies and has struggled to meet its own health-care supply needs and was a worthy donation candidate.
“There is a shortage of medical equipment in our health facility, so it will help us a lot and it will be very good for the patients to benefit from this supply,” said Abdul Qayom Pokhola, an Afghan physician who works at Mirwais Hospital and serves with the directorate for Kandahar Public Health.
“Today we are receiving medical supplies from our friends at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). There are a lot of different items that they are giving us like bandages, tablets, serums, litters, wheelchairs and a lot of other things for the hospital,” Pokhola said.
First Lt. Brandon Williams, of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, serves as the Afghan National Security Force medical development deputy for RC-South. He said not only will residents of Kandahar benefit from the donation, but also every echelon of Afghanistan’s National Police force.
“Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense supplies dedicated health facilities and providers for the (Afghan National Army). However, the police forces typically do not have dedicated providers and therefore receive care at Mirwais,” Williams said. “So while taking care of both the civilians and the (police), doctors like Dr. Pokhola run short on supplies.”
Pokhola expressed a great deal of gratitude for the donation, and was confident the supplies will help fill a gap between the medical supply needs of the region and the lack of assets.
“This is very positive for us. This helps fill the need for what we don’t have,” Pakhola said. “Everyone knows during the last 10 to 15 years that the international community has done a lot for Afghanistan, especially in the health-care sector.”