Tuesday, August 19, 2008

6-4 Medics Helping Locals

Pfc. Charles Wolfe
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

JALALABAD, Afghanistan - In the rural mountainous province of Nuristan acute or primary medical care has been nearly nonexistent for the local population in the past. Local Afghans have long been without reasonable means to cure and prevent disease, treat wounds or receive medications.

A multivitamin, something simply attained in the United States, is a distant afterthought in Nuristan. The Soldiers of the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division’s medical platoon offer a chance to change this traditional deficiency.

“We are really making a difference here,” Sgt. 1st Class Adrian Davenport, 6-4 Cav. Medical Platoon Sergeant, said. “The Soldiers are starting to recognize the locals and when they see the kids at the gate they all wave.”

Armed with bandages, ibuprofen and various balms and creams, the 6-4 medics open a morning sick call for local nationals of every age and gender. The clinic starts with a short screening process, where a medic determines who can be given simple drugs, like aspirin or vitamins, and who needs more attention.

The platoon’s work goes beyond the scope of just health care. By offering free medical services to resident Afghans, the Soldiers build a relationship with locals, thus adding to the positive and progressive work of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. The Soldiers are reaching out to the locals in the area and the children are taking notice.

“The children go home and tell their little friends about it, and the next morning we have an abundance of kids outside,” Davenport said.

The medics work together with the 126th Forward Surgical Team, who can provide surgical care to Soldiers and locals in need. The Soldiers begin the local national sick call around 9:30 a.m. everyday.

The locals appreciate the medial help, but they get more from 6-4 than just medicine.

“They all appreciate the care we provide,” Cpt. Amanda Cuda, family physician for 6-4 said, “but I don’t know if the kids like the medial treatment or the toys and candy more.”

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