Saturday, February 2, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 2 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Coordinated Medical Engagement Treats Hundreds in Khidr.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Working side-by-side, surgeons and medics from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and the Iraqi Army came together in a coordinated medical engagement Jan. 28 in Khidr, Iraq.

“By us coming out here and doing this with the Iraqi Army, the families know that we are serious and want to help them,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Newsome, commander of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

Throughout the day, Coalition and Iraqi Army surgeons treated more than 500 people. Many seen during the day received medical care for injuries or illnesses that otherwise may not have been treated.

“Most of the people being seen today were because of cold and flu symptoms,” said Sgt. 1st Class Monty Ranisate, medical platoon sergeant of Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 3-7th Inf. Regt. “We also saw many chronic diseases.”

Due to the previous medical facility in the town being destroyed by al-Qaeda in Iraq, many have been unable to get the healthcare they need.

When residents arrived at the school to be seen, they were first sent to the preventive medicine room to learn information on how to stop diseases before they start. During the preventive medicine class, residents were taught how to properly boil water and to practice good personnel hygiene.

With some residents not having clean drinking water, many have developed diseases from the unclean water. Mohammed, an Iraqi medic, explained how boiling water would kill germs making it healthier for them to drink.

Children from the community were also taught not to play with plastic weapons because of the similarities between real and toy weapons.

“I told them not to use the guns,” Mohammed said. “Anyone who sees them might think they are real.”

After the class, patients received a standard medical questionnaire and had their vital signs checked. After checking vital signs, those who needed to be seen waited in line to see a doctor.

Doctors diagnosed the patients on what exactly was wrong with them, Ranisate said. “And if they need to make follow up appointments, we help them make it with local doctors.”

In addition to receiving medical care, residents received humanitarian assistance bags.