American Forces Press Service
Dec. 15, 2008 - Hundreds of people in Afghanistan's Zabul province received the gifts of medical care and humanitarian assistance earlier this month. Members of the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team, the Afghan National Army and coalition forces participated in a medical operation in a local village.
The care came at a crucial time for the villagers, officials said, as Afghan families struggle to provide food and warmth for their families during winter.
"The local population was very excited to see us, and grateful for our presence," Alex Lowe, a physician assistant, said.
Nearly 500 patients were seen, and of those, Lowe provided medical assistance to more than 100 women. "The majority seen were suffering from upper respiratory, dermatologic and gastrointestinal complaints," she said.
The team worked with a local doctor, who also saw and treated patients.
"It was important for the local population to see an Afghan doctor there as well," Lowe said. "This shows the public that we are here to help them improve their quality of life, not just to solve short-term problems."
Along with medical care, the team provided food and supplies to the villagers.
"We distributed beans, rice, sugar and supplies for the winter," Army Staff Sgt. Adam Bromley, Zabul PRT civil affairs team sergeant, said. "These rations will hopefully provide some relief from the cold winter and sustain their families, even if only for a short time.
"Today's mission was a total team effort," Bromley said. "The success today was a collaborative effort from the ANA, the local doctors, our coalition partners and the PRT."
(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)