War on Terrorism

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Team Offers Medical Care to Afghan Children

By Air Force 2nd Lt. Natassia Cherne
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team's female engagement team visited a remote village in the eastern part of the province here to provide medical care and personal hygiene training to children Jan. 16 and 17. Navy Lt. (Dr.) Jennifer Dreiling, the team's senior medical officer, provided medical treatment to more than 50 children. Most children had common cold symptoms, body aches, skin rashes and gastrointestinal complaints.

"I think it was very successful," the McClean, Va., native, said. "It was nice to treat children for once; we don't see that population very often."

One girl came to the medical civic action program to receive a referral for her arm, which was severely burned when she was young. The scar tissue on the burn was preventing her from moving her arm. Dreiling referred her to the Indira Gandi Children's Hospital in Kabul, which treats children and also gives family members a place to stay for free.

The girl's brother said he heard an announcement of the medical outreach program on the radio. He knew she needed special treatment and brought her in.

The team also offered personal hygiene lessons to the children, with topics such as brushing their teeth, tips for treating sore throats and the importance of washing their hands.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathleen Leach, operations specialist and a Smithfield, R.I., native, taught the personal hygiene classes to the boys, while another member of the team taught the girls.

"This was the most rewarding mission I've done," Leach said. "I feel like we positively affected the local populace and it was nice to teach the children health and sanitation. We were able to give back to the community."

The female engagement team plans to conduct future missions for Afghan women and girls.

(Air Force 2nd Lt. Natassia Cherne serves with Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team public affairs.)

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