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
"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
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."