Dagger Soldiers mark progress of Abu Ghraib Hospital
July 15, 2009
BAGHDAD - Iraqi citizens in the Abu Ghraib area of Baghdad have improved healthcare options following the latest round of hospital renovations - part of a $1 million effort by Coalition forces.
Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, escorted members of the Iraqi media, here, July 12, to showcase the hospital's improvements and upgrades.
Hospital upgrades include new paint, floors, ceilings and a newly furnished waiting room. Some of the medical hardware includes an incinerator, ultrasound equipment and communications technology.
"The doctors and staff members of the hospital have been very grateful for what we have done," said Capt. Michael Nau, project manager for the 2nd BCT, 1st Inf. Div. "They wish honestly that we could do more and honestly, we wish we could do more too."
According to Nau, $800,000 has been spent on the hospital and another $200,000 in renovations and improvements are planned.
A satellite Internet suite and 24-hour electricity were some of the upgrades in technology that are essential for a modern hospital, added Nau, a native of San Diego.
"If you can imagine having a hospital without an Internet connection, it's the equivalent of having to send a person out, in order to coordinate for repairs," said Nau. "That resulted in back and forth trips from the Ministry of Health back to the hospital."
Nau said the process of rebuilding a hospital starts with communication and is followed up with many meetings.
"We visit the site, we talk to the various directors and officials at the site and we see what exactly they need to do their jobs better," said Nau. "We then focus on the very things they need the most and provide them with it."
Projects such as the Abu Ghraib hospital contribute to security by providing Iraqis with basic needs to be self-sufficient.
"With a project like this it helps with security because now we are meeting the basic needs of the people," Nau added. "Now they have less of a reason to be upset and that helps with the overall situation. It's a small piece, but it is a piece."
According to Nau, helping meet the needs of the Iraqis in Western Baghdad not only strengthens security, but boosts the sense of cooperation and pride of the Soldiers involved in such projects.
"We have an utmost care for the Iraqi people, wherever they are, whether they are in the city, the countryside, or somewhere out in between," Nau said. "It's extremely rewarding for me ... to see and know we are making a difference. That's all the reward I want."
Caring for the Iraqi people, boosting their morale and healthcare facilities brings Coalition forces one step closer to transitioning Baghdad back over to the Iraqis - one piece at a time.