Thursday, August 10, 2006

MEDCAP Brings Healthcare and Medication to Thousands in need in Coastal Kenya

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By U.S. Air Force Capt. Martin Gerst,
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

MANDA BAY, Kenya - A team of doctors, medical and civil affairs professionals, from the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa recently completed a two-week medical civic action program here that visited four villages and treated more than 3,300 patients.

The team worked with local medical officials and non-governmental agencies, providing over $44,000 worth of medications and treatments to the residents of Mpeketoni, Faza, Bargoni, Mokowe and their surrounding communities. All medication was purchased locally and surplus medications were distributed among the clinics that participated. {Clickon image for photo details}

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The MEDCAP has “helped us a lot,” said Ahmed Kassim, public health officer, who works at the Faza clinic. Kassim worked with the CA team to organize the MEDCAP on the island of Pate and helped get the word out to the residents through word of mouth and through the local mosques.

“Most people here are jobless and depend on fishing,” said Kassim. Providing medicine and “building schools is very good,” he said referring to the classroom building the 18th Marine Expeditionary Unit constructed in 2002.

Kassim also volunteered his time to translate for the medical team. “It all went very smooth,” and he was thankful for the medical team coming.

U.S. Navy commander, Dr. Louis LaVopa, agreed. The entire MEDCAP “has gone well,” he said. He found the Kenyan people to be ”very polite, courteous, and friendly” and saw “no apparent cultural problems.”

Dr. LaVopa was prepared to see tropical diseases such as malaria and schistosamaisis. “We saw many and were able to treat them,” he said. But there were some problems the medical team couldn’t treat such as cancers, dental and vision problems.

“There was a need for dental care,” LaVopa said. Most of the dental problems could have been helped with extractions, he said, but dentistry wasn’t the focus of the visit.

Although transportation is scarce in the area, thousands of people made their way to the clinics to take advantage of the healthcare being provided.

“It didn’t take me long,” said Ahmed Faruki, assistant chief of Tchundwa village on the island of Pate, who walked for about 10 minutes to arrive at the Faza clinic. He’s spry compared to many who traveled to reach the clinic.

Mima Bwanashukuwe, a 40-something housewife also from Tchundwa village, said it took her much longer, about 30 minutes. “Some people from our village can’t walk here,” Bwanashukuwe said.

Both agreed that it would be better if the team would visit every village on Pate. “Next time, plan to visit every dispensary,” said Faruki. “Our people are always suffering; people are poor here,” he said.

The civil affairs team saw over 600 patients in one day at the Faza clinic.

The CJTF-HOA mission is focused on detecting, disrupting, and ultimately defeating transnational terrorist groups operating in the region-denying safe havens, external support, and material assistance for terrorist activity. Additionally, CJTF-HOA will counter the reemergence of transnational terrorism in the region through civil-military operations and support of non-governmental organization operations-enhancing the long-term stability of the region.