Medical, Veterinarian efforts combined for Civil Action Programs

26 Jul 2003 | Sgt. Bradly Shaver

Service members from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, along with Djiboutian, German and French physicians, treated more than 300 patients at a Medical Civil Action Program here, July 19.

Held at the village's medical clinic, this MEDCAP marked the sixth venture for CJTF-HOA and was the first combining American medical teams with French, German and Djiboutian, all working together for a combined host nations effort.

"We have more medical team support than ever in this MEDCAP," said Army Capt. James McGinnis, physician assistant.

French Lt. Julien Samy, doctor at Hospitalier de Bouffard (Central Hospital Armies at Bouffard, Djibouti) said it is important they participate in the MEDCAPs with the other services because of the knowledge they gain.

"We not only learn new things from the people of Djibouti, but we also get the opportunity to train within the coalition with Germans and Americans," said Samy, who spent most of the day helping patients in the examining room.

German troops handled dental needs while the French, Djiboutian and Americans concentrated efforts on the villagers medical needs.

"We really do need to build that coalition," McGinnis expressed. "The days of working unilaterally are virtually over as history is showing us. Being able to interact with the foreign military services and Djiboutian physicians lays a groundwork for relations we may need or want to do in the future."

McGinnis said they try to hold MEDCAPs once every month within the Republic of Djibouti. "We've held several before, but this one is different because we have not incorporated medical, dental and veterinary care at one time."

The veterinarian care was offered outside the village, providing treatment to common animals brought in by herders.

"Having medical, dental and veterinarian capabilities improves the quality of life for both the people and their animals," said German Senior Petty Officer Karl Adler, chief medical corpsman.

Although the focus of CJTF-HOA is on the Global War on Terrorism, a key element of the task force's mission lies in making a positive difference in the lives of the people in the region and their environment.

Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, commanding general CJTF-HOA, visited the clinic and said he would like to continue working with the Djiboutian people to build even stronger relationships.

"We believe there are terrorists in the Horn of Africa that we need to detect and defeat," he explained. "We want the Djiboutian people to be partners with the American people, in defeating terrorism in the Horn of Africa."

Standing outside the gate, seeing all the different services and staff working together, gives patients a better idea of the connection the service members have for one another and for them.

Djiboutian Army Capt. Joseph Muhammad, said these projects are very important to him and his people.

"It blends the civilian population with the American forces of Djibouti," he said. "It's a very good deed what the American's are doing. We thank them and appreciate them for providing treatment to the people - they are extremely ecstatic when the soldiers come here."

Headquarters Marine Corps