Thursday, August 17, 2006

 

In The Midst of War, There are Touches of Goodness


TF Warrior brings medical aid to Afghan villages

7 August 2006

By Capt. Lawrence Sekajipo
2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment

ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Coalition and Afghan doctors conducted a three-day village medical outreach operation in July, offering much needed medical aid to various villages in Northern Deh Chopan District, Zabul province.

The 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior, out of Fort Polk, La., together with a medical and veterinary team from the 94th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Echo Company also out of Fort Polk, conducted the VMO.

Army Spc. Melissa Hykes and Army Staff Sgt. Elena Varela, both with the 94th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Echo Company, administers de-worming medication to animals during a village medical outreach operation in the village of Larzab, Deh Chopan District recently. The VMO team treated animals and distributed enough de-worming medication for nearly 430 animals. The de-worming medication was to facilitate the fight against worms, one of the most common sicknesses for animals in the province. (Photo by Pfc. Kyle Nelson)

Security for this operation was provided by the Afghan National Army and Creek Company, TF Warrior combat team.

The medical team treated approximately 450 Afghans in Larzab and 160 in Baylough. The veterinarian team treated nearly 430 farm animals and distributed de-worming medication to all of them. It has been known that animals in this area are susceptible to worms, which could cause a serious threat if not controlled.

A number of family humanitarian aid packages, toys, shoes and clothing were distributed by a civil affairs team during this VMO. The humanitarian aid supplies were donated by friends and family members of the Soldiers. Reebok International also donated sneakers to TF Warrior mainly to be distributed to the children of Afghanistan.

The two villages sit in a mountainous and rugged terrain only accessible by foot or helicopter, making it difficult for residents to seek medical assistance.

Local leaders and elders have expressed their medical concerns to government officials, such as Zabul Governor Delbar Arman. With a population of approximately 5,000 and a low number of doctors available, the residents of these two villages hope that VMOs are conducted more frequently. (should have a source; assertion without attribution)

Currently, the nearest hospital for these residents is approximately 13 hours away in Qalat City, which makes it almost impossible at times to take care of medical emergencies.

“The locals seriously need medical care in this area. They trusted and sought our care. We are happy to provide whatever care we can,” said Army Capt. Yuri O. Rivera, physician assistant with TF Warrior. “It was a good turnout even though this is a known Taliban sanctuary.”

During a local Shura or village meeting, 75 local village leaders addressed their needs to improve roads, schools and clinics to government officials and Coalition forces present.

This Shura was hosted by Deh Chopan District Chief Anwar Jan, Afghan National Army Col. Abdul Razak Safi with the 2nd Brigade of the 205th Hero Corps, and TF Warrior Commander Army Lt. Col. Frank Sturek.

To improve the area, ANA soldiers and Creek Company Soldiers are currently working on establishing a forward operating base, which will be used by the ANA to assist Zabul residents.
According to TF Warrior officials, 12 VMOs in seven of the 12 districts have been conducted since March of 2006. Their medical team has treated approximately 3,100 Afghans. Their dental team has treated over 120 patients and conducted 15 tooth extractions. The optometry team has treated 300 patients, and the veterinarian team has treated 3,300 animals.
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