An Iraqi man explains his ailment to Lt. Fernando Alfaro Iraheta, a doctor with the El Salvadoran Cuscatlan Battalion, during a medical assistance mission conducted by Coalition forces in Byda village, near Al Kut, Iraq, May 2. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Daniel T. West)
FOB DELTA, Iraq (May 4, 2008) – Coalition troops conducted a medical assistance mission in Byda Village, near al-Kut, Iraq, May 2.
The mission is part of an outreach program to provide for outlying villages in Wasit Province that have seen little or no coalition presence, said Lt. Col. Rob Jones, the Wasit provincial reconstruction deputy team leader.
American, Salvadoran, Georgian and Lithuanian troops took part in the mission to perform medical and dental checks and distribute food, vitamins and hygiene supplies.
The villagers here need supplies badly, as there is no hospital nearby, said Lt. Fernando Alfaro Iraheta, a doctor with the Salvadoran Cuscatlán Battalion.
“We will give them medicine, whatever’s needed, and any help we can give them,” he said.
The mission also served to improve relationships between coalition forces and civilians in the area, said 1st Lt. Zaza Komladze, a surgeon with the 1st Georgian Infantry Brigade.
“It’s important for peace in this area,” he said. “The people here have a lot of medical problems, mostly because of their poor living conditions.”
The dental services provided for the villagers were limited by the primitive facilities, but Capt. Frederico Gomez, a dentist with the Cuscatlán Battalion, said he does what he can.
“The only treatment we can provide for the pain is to pull the tooth,” he said. “Unfortunately, nearly all who come for treatment need cleaning and I can’t do that here.”
The villagers took full advantage of the help coalition forces brought, standing in line for hours waiting for treatment.
“We respect the coalition forces and appreciate what they are doing here,” said Sheikh Sameer, the village sheikh.