Djiboutian Children, Adults Cared For During MEDCAP
More than 300 Djiboutians received health care from U.S. and Djiboutian medical personnel who partnered during a Medical Civic Action Program clinic Oct. 6 and 7, 2012, in Chebelley village, located in Arta district, Djibouti.
Two Joint Civil Affairs Teams and the Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team - all from the 448th Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Lewis, Wash., and deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa - worked alongside Djibouti Ministry of Health personnel to provide medical and dental care to local villagers and to share best practices during the event.
"We have a program between the U.S. and the Djiboutian government under the area of health," said Djibouti Minister of Health Ali Yocoub Mahamoud. "The American government is helping us in a very important way. The American military is building health centers and organizing medical visits. They are planned a year ahead of time and we are at the last medical visit for 2012 today. We are extremely grateful for the U.S. military."
According to Mahamoud, the MEDCAP shows the U.S. military's focus on conducting cooperative efforts with the Djiboutian people here.
"We are building good relationships while enhancing capacity with ourselves, the Djiboutian military and the local community, while showing the importance of health care," said U.S. Army Capt. John Miller, JCAT team leader. "The Djiboutian doctors are taking care of their own people using the best practices we've shown them."
Early on the morning of Oct. 6 the JCAT and medical personnel showed up to the village, where there was a newly-built medical clinic, and began to set up tents and tables and prepare medical supplies. When doors opened at 8 a.m., Chebelley residents were lined up awaiting care.
"Today we are [serving as] security, and setting up a water tank for the patients to drink from and a tent for the patients to wait in," said Djibouti Army 1st Lieutenant Said Abdi, Arta Combined Arms Military Academy chief of staff."
According to Abdi, a lot of coordination took place to make this happen, and according to Miller it was the first time the Djibouti military has supported a MEDCAP.
Inside, the clinic was organized so patients were able to check in at the general desk where the doctors diagnosed their problems and sent them to a needs-specific care room. Facility rooms included women's health, cardiology, pediatrics, optometry, dental care and a pharmacy.
"I think it's an awesome opportunity to come out here and help in any capacity that we can," said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Erin Millea, Emergency Medical Facility dental officer. "It's a learning opportunity for technicians and practitioners alike. It's rewarding to help anyone we can."
Although patients had various medical problems, most were related to women's health, pediatrics and general aches and pains. Djiboutian and U.S. doctors shared facility rooms and equipment as they worked side-by-side to help as many people as they could.
"The positive results would not have been achieved if there had not been the mutual cooperation between the Djiboutian and U.S. militaries," said U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Kevin Morgan, Djibouti JCAT sergeant. "From this, friendships were developed and best practices were shared."