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NEWS | May 20, 2010

Marines provide care to villagers in Naw Abad

By Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar , I MEF

A man and his child wait outside Naw-Abad to receive medical care May 15 during a Marine-sponsored village medical outreach.
A man and his child wait outside Naw-Abad to receive medical care May 15 during a Marine-sponsored village medical outreach.

NAW ABAD, Afghanistan (May 19, 2010) — Marines and medical officers from Brigade Headquarters Group and 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD) and an Afghan national army medic from Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, set up a village medical outreach, May 15, outside the village of Naw Abad, to provide medical care to the people of that area.

The Marines and Sailors set up a medical tent and aided over 35 men and children who traveled from their homes down to the medical site.

Lt. Cmdr. Aaron R. Huber, 3rd LAAD Bn. medical officer said his team provided excellent health care and worked to their limits.

Huber, from Southaven, Miss., also said most illnesses were acute and were treated by the medical staff.

Locals were also given a short class on preventative medicine to encourage district well-being.

Before the villagers left to return home, they were given hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and lotion to take back to their families. Solar powered radios were also handed out so the villagers would be able to listen to their local radio station for information on upcoming village medial outreaches.

The Naw Abad village men have little access to health care, but as the women very rarely leave their compounds, most of them have never seen a physician.

Navy Lt. Michelle M. Lynch, medical officer with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, took a female engagement team and traveled inside each compound to give the village women needed health care.

"They are kept away from mainstream culture," said Lynch. "Their needs are easily overlooked."

Lynch noticed a lack of nutrition of pregnant and breast-feeding women while she was out on the last VMO, so this time she was able to bring and pass out Carnation Instant Breakfast to the women when she visited to help keep them and their children healthy.

She was able to look at 17 women, 18 children and two men while she traveled the compounds. The FET entertained the children and interacted with the women while they were waiting to be treated.

Lynch and members of the FET handed out toys, hygiene items and lotion to the children before leaving each compound.

After completing the medical outreach, Marines and members of the ANA distributed corn seed and fertilizer throughout the district.

Huber said that distributing the corn seed and fertilizer shows the local people that the International Security Assistance Force has an interest in what they do.

ISAF plans to provide medical help around Helmand province and continues to build good relations with the people of Afghanistan.