ABU GHRAIB, Iraq - Not too long ago, some Iraqi children rode several hours and several miles on a donkey cart, enduring the blistering heat of summer, to get one of their younger siblings to a health treatment facility: there were no facilities near their home.

Now, a donation from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division "Raiders" is making it possible for health treatment facilities to come to them.

Dr. Hussain, a Ministry of Health representative for Abu Ghraib, recently accepted two mobile health clinic vehicles from the Raider Brigade.

"The purpose is to enable the Ministry of Health to serve their community with medical treatment in those hard-to-reach places," said Capt. Timothy Bride, a project manager with the brigade's Joint Project Management Office, and a Houston native. "Many families travel by any means a long way to seek health treatment."

The all-white mobile clinics are modified Ford F-450 trucks, assembled and shipped from Mexico, with two separate offices that can be accessed by pull-out stairs underneath the door.

Bride explained that from the outside, the mobile clinics almost resemble recreation vehicles.
The first office in each clinic vehicle is equipped with a new dental chair and an X-ray machine, while the second office has an examination table, which also can be used for simple surgeries, a sink, cabinets for storage and a refrigerator.

Each office has its own air conditioning unit, steam sterilizing machine for tools, overhead lights and basic equipment used to maintain the vehicle.

The total cost for the two mobile clinic vehicles was $350,000. However, before anything was signed over to the Iraqis, U.S. Soldiers conducted a visual check on all the equipment with Hussain and a few local contractors.

"We wanted to make sure that every piece of equipment was accounted for before we signed it over to the Ministry of Health," said Capt. Talgin Cannon, another project manager with the Joint Project Management Office.

Working through extreme heat, the Soldiers also inspected the equipment.

"We have to make sure everything is here and it works," said Bride, wiping his brow. "Hopefully, the use of these [mobile clinics] will stop further deterioration of health in very remote areas."

Hussain explained how Iraqi medical personnel would use the vehicles to reach their patients.

"These mobile clinics will be operated by a team of just a doctor, dentist and a nurse selected by the Ministry of Health for Abu Ghraib," he said. "A team will rotate through on a schedule in order to reach the rural places."

Cannon said missions like this contribute to the legacy of the Raider Brigade as the unit prepares to redeploy in the coming weeks.

"Who is going to remember this brigade when we leave this country'" asked Cannon, shrugging his shoulders. "The ones who will remember are the ones we helped here."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16