Army medics assess needs of Anbar community
May 20, 2010
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (Army News Service, May 20, 2010) -- A team of Army medical personnel set up a temporary clinic with a local Iraqi doctor to assess the healthcare needs of a poor farming community along the Euphrates River, May 12.
Physician's assistant Capt. Kenneth Brodie and several combat medics with 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Advise and Assist), treated minor ailments and inquired of healthcare needs from more than 100 walk-in patients in Dulaub, Iraq, with local general practitioner, Dr. Larif.
The project was an assessment for a more comprehensive healthcare treatment and education event planned for the community in the near future, Brodie said.
Larif, the resident doctor, said that his goal was generally prevention, not treatment.
"We have no x-ray machine, no dentist," he said. "We have a lab, but no trained personnel to operate it. We can treat simple cases -- somebody falls off their motorcycle or out of a tree and breaks an arm."
For injuries such as severe burns or appendicitis, patients are brought to nearby Hit, said the doctor.
Many visitors to the assessment, like veteran soldier Sabry Abdula, who lost both hands in the Gulf War, came in for multiple issues.
Because the local clinic does not stock his medication, Sabry has to travel to Baghdad on a motor scooter adapted for his handless arms. It is always a long, dangerous ride, he said.
While inquiring about medication for an ulcer he's had for 10 years, Sabry asked the doctor to look at spots on the legs of his 2-year-old son, Godana.
Amal Sulain, a diabetic mother of five boys and six girls, came in only for herself.
"All of my children are healthy, thanks to God," she said. "But I have been feeling sick lately. I know there is medicine for me, but it is too expensive on our income."
Amal's husband is a local grammar-school teacher.
Staff Sgt. John Clifford, one of the combat medics, said that he had expected to see more varied complaints.
"We saw arthritis, diabetes, kidney stones -- pretty mundane illnesses for this part of the world," he said.
The assessment was successful, and the team would be well-prepared when they returned to Dulaub in the weeks to come, said 1st. Lt. Robert Fales, whose Soldiers from 558th Military Police Company escorted the medical team to Dulaub.
The 558th is an active-duty MP company under 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, based in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. While deployed, it is attached to 1/82 AAB, a brigade specially trained to advise and assist Iraqi civil and military institutions to help them achieve sustainable security and stability.
Security at the clinic was organized by Dulaub Police Chief Col. Omad and included elements of Iraqi army and police.
The clinic was set up in a house provided by a resident sheikh.
(Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod writes for 1/82 AAB, USD-C)