Afghanistan Health Reconstruction Course introduced into PRT training|
Posted 8/25/2012 Updated 8/25/2012
by Justin R. Oakes
Air Combat Command Public Affairs
8/25/2012 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- Sustainability and self-sufficiency is the goal for the new Afghanistan Health Sector Reconstruction Course being introduced into all provincial reconstruction team training.
"We have taken what some would have considered a boring lecture series, expanded it and morphed it into a highly dynamic, interactive learning experience, "said Maj. (Dr.) Brian Glodt, Air Combat Command chief of global health training. "This course provides more information from a varied group of experts, in a more succinct, consistent and efficient manner, and we give trainees an opportunity to bring it all together in multiple small group activities and large field exercises."
According to Glodt, the primary impact is to help leadership and medical personnel on PRTs better contribute to the reconstruction mandate of their teams in ways that empower the host nation health systems and personnel, and achieve commander and U.S. government objectives for capacity building and improved stability in their area of responsibility.
The military global health engagement community has long been involved in these types of missions since the first PRT and medical embedded training teams were considered and brought to the line.
"Our medics are some of the best in the world for providing patient care and saving lives," Glodt said. "We provide them the best training possible to maintain this skill set, but we failed to provide many of them with the training on building capacity, stability operations and health system construction.
"Many of our medics, especially those on PRTs or mETTs, would end up down range and put in positions where they were expected to execute capacity building activities or health system advising, and they lacked the training they needed to perform to the best of their abilities."
Since 2008, the ACC Global Health Branch has made efforts to develop and provide training to address this issue. In 2009, the Combined Joint Task Force Surgeon Office in Afghanistan published a PRT health reconstruction playbook and standard operating procedure clearly reinforcing the need.
As a result, ACC assisted in the development and implementation of a new regimen, called the Afghanistan Health Sector Reconstruction Course, in conjunction with the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute in San Antonio, Texas, several joint subject matter experts, and in close partnership with the 4th Cavalry Brigade, who is currently responsible for the PRT pre-deployment training.
Service members deploying on a PRT go through a training course at Camp Atterbury, Ind., that lasts several months, and this is where the new course was first introduced.
In October 2011, a 40-hour, one-week block of instruction was introduced to PRT commanders, senior NCOs, medics and civil affairs team members.
"The goal of this block of training was not to make the participants experts in building partnership capacity or medical stability, but to get them to start thinking in those terms," Glodt said.
Approximately two months following the initial instruction, an eight-hour, one-day executive course is undergone by PRT commanders, NCOs, senior medics and some security forces personnel.
"This section was to introduce the concepts to the commanders, refresh the concepts to the senior medical and CA staff and to get the commanders to start looking to their medical folks for input and advice," Glodt said.
The final section of the course focuses on a three-day scenario training exercise in the field complete with skilled authentic Afghan role players in a realistically simulated Afghan environment. The course totals approximately 60 hours of training and is now considered a U.S. Central Command requirement for all pre-deploying training.
ACC and their joint partners are confident the training will promote the transition to a self-sustaining infrastructure and help earn indigenous support.
"That is actually the crux of what we are teaching them, how to make their activities, not U.S. projects but Afghan projects, and how to make them sustainable," Glodt said. "By simply doing these two things, it will earn the support of the Afghan people."