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U.S. forces provide medical treatment to Afghan women

Release No: UNRELEASED Dec. 22, 2008 PRINT | E-MAIL

PRESS RELEASE

US Forces Afghanistan

December 20, 2008

Release Number 20082012-02

U.S. forces provide medical treatment to Afghan women

KABUL, Afghanistan - A Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force -

Afghanistan medical officer provided medical treatment to several Afghan

women and their children Dec. 17 at a women’s clinic on Camp Hero,

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The event was part of a semi-monthly effort to train and mentor Afghan

medical personnel to improve health care and provide medical treatment

to Afghan women, who otherwise would not be seen.

Navy Lt. Christine R. Stehman, the SPMAGTF-A air combat element flight

surgeon, volunteered to conduct the women’s clinic twice a month to

raise awareness and ensure afghan women receive the medical treatment

they need.

"Because of cultural restrictions, women are not allowed to take their

burkas off in front of men, and any conversation has to take place

through the burka or even through a screen," she said. "This makes

examinations impossible. Sometimes, the women need to be seen for female

issues."

Stehman hopes that raising awareness and educating female medical

personnel will help to curb the mortality rate of women and infants and

improve the medical treatment the majority of Afghan women receive. In

addition, she hopes to be a positive role model to Afghan women.

"I’m a physician, so my job is to provide health care and medical

attention, but I have an opportunity to not only do so but to show an

example of an educated female to some of the local [Afghan] population,

both male and female," she said.

"If one girl sees me and says ‘I want to be a doctor,’ that’s a step in

the right direction."

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