1st Cavalry News
First Preparatory Iraqi Nursing Course graduates mark progress in Iraqi health care
Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs
VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Iraq — Before Saddam Hussein was in power, Iraq thrived with an excellent health care system. The nurses were well educated and highly respected until Hussein proclaimed the field of nursing unnecessary.
Recently, 18 Iraqi women have defied Saddam’s words by successfully graduating form the first Preparatory Iraqi Nursing Course at the Civil Military Operations Center located in the Victory Base Complex in Baghdad Feb. 19.
“This is happy day for me,” said Amel Hadi, a PINC graduate. “I always wanted to be able to help people and now I can.”
The six-week course provided lessons in basic health care. PINC Students learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation, wound dressing and care and how to check vital sings. And being that most of the women who attended the class have children, family planning and the male and female reproductive system lessons were taught.
“This class is designed to teach basic medical skills, but also empower the women,” said Air Force Capt. Samantha Elmore, a PINC director and native of Sacramento, Calif. “I hope this class will help them find a job and take care of their family.”
Currently, Iraq is critically short of nurses. Typically, there are four nurses for each doctor; however, Iraq has only one nurse for every 100 doctors.
“We developed the PINC because we wanted to repair the physician structures in Iraq,” said Maj. Darrin Frye, a PINC director and native of West Palm Beach, Fla. “When Saddam was in power, he thought technology could solve medical problems, but when the electricity went out, the patients could not be taken care of. We want to staff the medical facilities with nurses, so they can treat the patients.”
One of the goals of the class was to reach Iraqi women who live in rural communities and teach them basic nursing skills so they can take care of others.
Although the Iraqi women were afforded an opportunity to learn basic health skills, they struggled with terrorist threats during the course.
“One of our students received death threats,” said Dr. Ahlam Turki, a cultural advisor for the class. “Terrorists told her she would be beaten until she bled and then taken back to her family to see.”
The student who was threatened did not let the threats of terrorists stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse.
The class offered many of the students an opportunity of a lifetime.
“This is my first class since middle school,” said Madha Alawi Hussein, a 38-year-old PINC student. “I have never been (afforded) the chance to go to class since I was a girl. I am very happy.”
Graduates of the PINC will have the opportunity to attend advanced nursing classes in the future. More PINC classes will be held at the CMOC, periodically.
Air Force Capt. Samantha Elmore, a Preparatory Iraqi Nursing Course director and native of Sacramento, Calif., grades the students’ final exams before the PINC graduation at the Civil Military Operations Center at the Victory Base Complex in Baghdad Feb. 19. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs)
Graduates of the Preparatory Iraqi Nursing Course take a moment to smile for the camera after receiving their certificates of training at the Civil Military Operations Center at the Victory Base Complex in Baghdad Feb. 19. Eighteen Iraqi women graduated from the PINC. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Laura Bigenho, 28th Public Affairs Detachment)