16 Mar. 2008

PR# 2008-100

700 Afghans receive medical aid in Parwan Province

KABUL, Afghanistan – Coalition and ISAF soldiers treated more than 700 Afghans in Kohe Safi District, Parwan Province, recently during a Village Medical Outreach (VMO).

Doctors from ISAF’s Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) teamed up with Craig Joint Theater Hospital doctors, a physician’s assistant and entomologist from the 413th Civil-Military Affairs Battalion, and a veterinarian from Combined Joint Task Force-82 to assist Afghans from Gadaykhel and Alohojaha.

The doctors treated “every person from my village,” said Tor Abas, Gadaykhel village elder, through an interpreter. “We have medical ailments with tuberculosis, knee problems and general pains,” which were treated.

While scouting locations to perform the medical outreach, Major Jeremy McGuire, Kohe Safi Police Mentor Team leader, said the village elders promised a large participation by women, an event rarely seen during a medical outreach in Kohe Safi.

“This was an incredible turn out for the women of this traditional Pashtun area,” said Maj. McGuire, whose police mentor team assisted the Kohe Safi Afghan National Police with security. “Our previous two VMOs treated 20 and 78 females total. This one saw more than 300.”

The doctors treated more than 180 women and girls in Gadaykhel and 130 in Alohojaha.

“Women actually came to see us, usually there are just young boys, not girls or women,” said Major (Dr.) Deb Roberts, Task Force Med family practice physician.

The high participation of women “shows that the Pashtun people of Kohe Safi have identified with their government and trust them enough to send their women for medical care,” said Maj. McGuire.

Captain (Dr.) Marshall Fiscus, Bagram PRT battalion surgeon, and Colonel (Dr.) Bart Iddins, TF Med commander, treated more than 200 men and boys in Gadaykhel and 174 in Alohojaha for ailments ranging from musculoskeletal problems and asthma to leishmaniasis and fungal scalp infections.

The doctors handed out anti-fungal shampoo, anti-inflammatory and reflux medications and hydrocortisone. 

The team also refilled many prescription medications.

“These people were surprisingly well educated on what they needed,” said Capt. Fiscus. “They know what works and asked us to refill things like reflux meds and anti-inflammatories, which help with many ailments.”

The VMO treated more than just the people of Gadaykhel and Alohojaha. Between the two villages the Combined Joint Task Force-82 veterinarian, Army Maj. (Dr.) Bruce Lancaster, treated more than 150 animals.

“We did the usual deworming, but we did see one case of pneumonia in Gadaykhel,” said Maj. Lancaster.

Veterinary engagements are often busy sites, with hundreds of donkeys, cows, sheep and goats brought to Coalition and ISAF vets for assistance, but the turn out at the two villages was small, said Maj. Lancaster.

There were rumors about many animals dying after they were treated by the vets in a village not too far from Gadaykhel, said Lieutenant Jason Forster, 413th CMA medical entomologist, who often assists during veterinary outreaches. The rumor may have stopped villagers from bringing their animals.

Despite the low turn out for the veterinarians, the mission was very successful.

“The doctors were able to help all the people in my village; thank you,” said Tor Abas, who received a referral to the Egyptian hospital nearby on Bagram Airfield for chronic back pain.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/