Jeff Villemarette carries needed medical supplies to the National Hospital in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from the Transit Center at Manas. Airmen delivered medical supplies and food to two Bishkek hospitals April 15.
MANAS, Kyrgyzstan (April 16, 2010) — Airmen delivered medical supplies and food to two Bishkek hospitals April 15, 2010, and visited with patients who were injured last week in Kyrgyzstan.
This is a continuation of efforts started just a couple of days ago when 16,000lbs - approximately $82,000 worth - of supplies including bandages, sutures, antibiotics, and antiseptics, were delivered to the Transit Center at Manas from the U.S. Army Medical Material Center, Southwest Asia. A total of four hospitals were helped with these supplies.
"Last week…Kyrgyz citizens, the majority of them young people, suffered serious injuries, mostly gunshot wounds," said Col. Jerry Flyer, Deputy Director for Medical Services at the Transit Center at Manas, who is also a surgeon. "During this time, Kyrgyz surgical and medical colleagues worked heroically around the clock to operate and save hundreds. What they accomplished was nothing less than incredible considering the lack of equipment and supplies they had to work with. In donating these supplies, we are helping to replenish what they have used and provide them the means to continue ongoing care of these patients."
Humanitarian assistance, one of the four mission sets of the Transit Center at Manas, has always been a priority for American Airmen, and when hospitals downtown expressed a need, service members here were happy to help. Within hours, coordination was in the works, and within just a couple days the Air Force personnel were delivering the necessary supplies.
"We've been cooperating with the Medical Group at the Transit Center at Manas very closely," said Professor Sabyrbek Djumadekov, the Chief Director of the Center for Traumatology. "This is not their first time assisting us. They've been helping us regularly. Thank you very much for all assistance rendered by the Transit Center and the United States to us. That will help a lot."
Colonel Flyer said, "We are also hoping to assist those heroic physicians and surgeons who are caring for these injured patriots. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing what you need to do to help someone and not have the means to do so. We hope to mitigate that as best we can."
From a medical standpoint, Colonel Flyers said, "we are all providers of care, and the most important thing to us is to take great care of our patients and restore them to health."
This is universal, no matter where in the world one practices medicine, he said.
"From a country and Transit Center standpoint, we live here side by side with our Kyrgyz neighbors, together fighting terrorism," the U.S. colonel said. "While we are engaged in this important work, we want to also be good neighbors. The Kyrgyz nation just went through a difficult time and we want them to know that they have our condolences for their losses and that we will do what we can to support them through this difficult time. That's what friends and neighbors do."
"On the one hand, it makes me feel good that we are able to harness our resources to assist our Kyrgyz medical colleagues, many of whom I know personally, in this time of need," Colonel Flyer said. "On the other hand, it is a little frustrating because I want to do more and wish there was more I could have done personally while they were operating for 48-72 hours straight on all of these injured people."
The medical staff, administrators, and patients all appeared genuinely grateful for our help and concern, according to the Air Force surgeon.
"Thanks a lot for providing HA to the National Hospital," said Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Madamim Karataev. "You've been regularly delivering medical supplies and food to the patients of this hospital, which is very helpful for us. And we've been facing a lot of difficulties right now. On behalf of the patients, doctors, and Kyrgyz people, we thank the Transit Center at Manas, the U.S. Embassy which is going to render some more assistance to the hospital tomorrow, and the people of the United States of America for helping us to overcome these hard days for Kyrgyzstan."