War on Terrorism

Monday, March 02, 2009

Coalition Troops Care for Afghan People

American Forces Press Service

March 2, 2009 - The hope for a healthier life is growing stronger in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province, thanks to the care of health care workers from around the world. Medical professionals from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan, U.S. police mentoring team, Danish Provincial Reconstruction Team, the French military and Afghanistan are working together to operate clinics in the province's Deh Rawod district.

For basic medical treatment, patients are treated at a centralized clinic, which sees about 300 to 400 people a week, officials said. Some of the ailments treated include body aches, colds, flu, nausea, skin and muscle infections, gastrointestinal reflux disease and kidney infections.

For treatment of more serious injuries, such as broken bones, extensive burns and serious illnesses, a nearby clinic operated by the Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team is consulted.

"Our clinic specializes in eyesight and life and limb saving. Since this past October, we've seen approximately 100 people a week," Sgt. 1st Class Frank Deboer, a medical nurse for the Dutch battle group, said.

Along with medical doctors, the Dutch PRT also has female medical staff members who work at both the Dutch and civil affairs clinics, Deboer said.

Having the females provide care at the clinics helps to bridge a cultural divide in Afghanistan. "The female nurses are able to provide health care for women in the surrounding areas," Deboer said. "It is really unique here. Women come here to be treated [unescorted]."

"I fully support our clinic's mission," Army Pfc. Chris Macomber, a medic with the U.S. police mentoring team, said. "Our being here greatly improves the quality of life for the Afghans in Deh Rawood."

Deboer recalled a girl with cerebral palsy who was in need of treatment.

"The girl was having trouble with her leg brace," Deboer said. "It was causing her great discomfort. We helped provide transportation for the girl's family to Kandahar, where she was able to have her brace modified and receive specialized shoes to fit her better."

Another example was a girl who was brought in and evaluated by medical personnel. She was taken to the Dutch PRT for an additional assessment and medically evacuated to a hospital in Tarin Kowt, officials said. The girl was diagnosed with tetanus and received the treatment she needed.

From basic ailments to serious illnesses and injuries, the international medical troops provide care to people who would not normally have access to proper medical assistance, officials said.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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