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Saturday, 11 September 2010 10:04

ISF lead medical, humanitarian visit | United States Forces - Iraq

Written by Written by Staff Sgt. Tanya Thomas, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
ISF lead medical, humanitarian visit | United States Forces - Iraq
KARMAH — U.S. Army medics joined their Iraqi counterparts here Tuesday for an Iraqi Security Forces-led medical clinic and humanitarian mission where hundreds of area residents received free medical care and essential supplies.

The 1st Iraqi Army Division and Karmah Police Department hosted the event, inviting U.S. 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers to help provide what would be some residents’ first time receiving such care.

“About a good 10 percent of the families said that they have never seen a health care provider before,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Leong, regimental surgeon with 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th AAB. “The people we saw today left with a lot of smiles on their faces.”

Leong and Pfc. Charity Weldon, a medic with C Company, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th AAB, provided medical assessments for women and children while IA doctors treated male patients and organized a pharmacy at the free clinic. In addition, IA Soldiers and Iraqi Police officers distributed 500 food packages containing rice, flour, sugar, powdered milk and cooking oil, as well as school supplies and soccer balls, to those who attended.

Leong said with the Iraqi government in transition, events like this ISF-led medical engagement help build trust between Iraqi citizens and their security forces.

“This was an opportunity for the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police—as representatives of the central government—to be seen and for the local population to realize that they were actually there to help,” he said. “It’s a new concept for them, but it’s a very important one.

“They provided tremendous security; it was very well organized and the patient flow was great,” Leong continued. “I’m really impressed. The Iraqi (Security Forces) are doing great work.”

Weldon agreed with Leong, sharing similar sentiments.

“Today I was amazed,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but we saw hundreds of people, so it was a great turnout. I know these people have never really received care like this before; some of them have never even gone to a doctor before. This is probably their first experience being able to come to a medical facility, receive medications that they’ve never been able to have—just simple things that we take for granted.”

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