Coalition Treats Afghans in Medical Outreach Effort
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, April 28, 2008 – Several hundred citizens from a village near Tag Ab Valley in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province swarmed a makeshift hospital April 19 during a village medical outreach hosted by Task Force Gladiator servicemembers.
Afghan children wait to be seen by Navy Lt. Tammy Felker, 451st Civil Affairs Battalion’s women's health clinic officer in charge, during a veterinary and medical outreach mission near Tag Ab Valley in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province, April 19, 2008. Photo by Army Capt. Elizabeth Casebeer, Task Force Cincinnatus
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available. The event’s primary goal was to connect Afghans living near Tag Ab to the Afghan government through humanitarian-aid operations, with the assistance of village elders and Afghan National Police.
Upon arrival at the site, Afghan and coalition forces set up a small tent and made a wall with ponchos to segregate the women’s section from the men’s.
Provincial reconstruction teams run many medical outreaches, but few employ female health providers due to the types of missions the PRTs conduct, said Navy Lt. Tammy Felker, 451st Civil Affairs Battalion’s women's health clinic officer in charge. “That is one of the reasons cooperative medical assistance, now [called] Task Force Med Medical Augmentation Team, was created,” she said.
“We are an agile unit that can augment with U.S. and coalition forces throughout the theater to do medical engagements,” she explained. “The goal is to increase friendly relations between the Afghan people and the U.S. and coalition forces.”
After the makeshift hospital was set up, a few women and children began to trickle in. But before long, a long line of women and girls was waiting to be seen at the clinic.
“When 20-plus people are waiting for care, our focus is to try to treat them all,” Felker said. “The goal is to let them know we care.”