Helmand mission for Lowestoft soldier Megan Paynter

A YOUNG soldier from Lowestoft has been leading from the front in helping to set up a pioneering ambulance service in Afghanistan.

Pte Megan Paynter, 19, is serving in Helmand province as a combat medical technician in the British Army's 16 Medical Regiment.

Megan, a former Denes High School pupil, has been passing on life-saving tips to train a group of Afghan nurses and help them launch the first professional ambulance service for the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Along with two other Army medics, she has taken time out from their usual role providing treatment to teach their skills to a group of Afghan nurses.

Five nurses from Lashkar Gah have just completed a nine-day course to qualify as 'patient transfer specialists'. Medics Capt Robert Garbett, from Shrewsbury, L/Cpl Fiona Ross, from Fife, and Megan gave the Afghans instruction in some of the techniques used by paramedics in the UK.

The course was established to make sure the nurses were competent enough to look after patients as they were taken to the province's main hospital.

The initiative has been organised by Helmand's directorate of health with the UK-led Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team.

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As well as the training course run by the three Army medics over a period of three weeks, the team has produced a handbook that has been translated into the Afghan language of Dari.

Also, Megan is providing essential life-saving treatment to injured British and coalition troops and civilians.

She said: 'We use all the latest British Army medical kit, like combat application tourniquets, Celox, which is an advanced way of stopping bleeding, and the new field dressings.

'We also have electro-medical equipment for observing and assessing patients.

'We have a really good professional team.

'This is my first tour in which I am actually doing my job, from leading traumas to transferring them to local hospitals.

'I am getting a lot of experience here from trauma to primary health care.'

When in the UK, Megan is based at Colchester as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

In her spare time she enjoys running, football and travelling.

Megan is on a six-month tour in Afghanistan and is due back home in Lowestoft in just over three weeks.

She said of her Army mission: 'It has been a really good experience.I've really enjoyed it.'

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