Canadians at KAF prepare to turn over Role 3 Hospital to U.S. doctors

The big red letters on the large white sign at Kandahar Airfield’s Canadian-run Role 3 Multinational Hospital say it best: “The Best Care Anywhere.”

Col. Danielle Savard

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The big red letters on the large white sign at Kandahar Airfield’s Canadian-run Role 3 Multinational Hospital say it best: “The Best Care Anywhere.”

As of Thursday, it will require a footnote — “Under New Management.”

After three busy, challenging years under the guidance of Canadian doctors and soldiers, the Role 3 — the health-care hub of the major military headquarters in southern Afghanistan — is being turned over to the Americans, whose numbers at KAF are growing by the day.

Canada originally agreed to take responsibility for the facility for one year, but that agreement stretched into two years, and then three. Now, with massive U.S. reinforcements on hand, the time is right to hand over control of the facility.

There will likely be a tear or two to the eyes of the Canadian personnel who cared for the ramshackle facility for so long — particularly Col. Danielle Savard, the career soldier and trained pharmacist who has served as the hospital’s director.

“I am proud,” said Savard, the first and only woman to run the facility. “It was our time to shine, and we’ve been shining all the way, and all that because of the incredible team that we had in place.”

The official handover ceremony takes place Oct. 15, after which most of the current Canadian staff will be heading back to Canada following their six-month tour.

The effort in recent months to train U.S. personnel has been something of a challenge thanks to the fact that the incoming contingent includes American navy personnel, Savard added.

“We need to train them on the way we are working here,” she chuckled. “It’s different from a ship.”

Because personnel are constantly being rotated through Afghanistan, the operation has refined the way it passes training and information to incoming personnel — something the medical community could learn from, Savard added.

“This is something that the army is good at, and we need to do better in the medical world in the lessons learned and passing information from one roto to the other.”

Canada will still play a major part in providing health care at the Role 3, in much the way other countries have under the command of Savard and her predecessors over the past three years. But there is a sadness knowing that as of Thursday, things will be changing.

“It will be sad … It’s like the medical history book. I guess we just wrote another chapter and soon it will be the last page of it,” she acknowledged quietly.

“We need to start a new chapter doing something else, being embedded into another multinational places where our Canadians are going. That would be something amazing and will keep our people in the system and keep their skills up.”

Role 3 isn’t the only facility at Kandahar Airfield that’s experiencing change as the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry gradually take over from members of the Quebec-based Royal 22e Regiment, the storied regiment known colloquially as the Van Doos.

Just Posted

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Most Read