News: U.S., Bulgarian military provide health care to local village
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Osvaldo Sanchez
CHERNITSA, Bulgaria — A medical team consisting of U.S. and Bulgarian military medics are on a mission to help those with limited health care. The team conducted their first round of preventive medicine at a village near the Novo Selo Training Area from Sept. 2-4. The village of Chernitsa was the first of nine villages to receive medical assistance.
"Our population and all the people from the region have a very positive attitude towards U.S. and Bulgarian military," said Penka M. Hristova, mayor of Chernitsa. "We're very glad that they are actually having this mission in our village."
The U.S. part of this team consists of medics who just completed an eight-village medical assistance mission in eastern Romania. They are part of Joint Task Force-East's humanitarian civic assistance effort conducting eye exams, classes in oral hygiene and general health education.
U.S. Army Spc. Tony J. Bowden, a preventive medicine specialist from U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine out of Landstuhl, Germany, said, "It's a good feeling to know that we're helping. You can see the joy on their faces that they're happy to see you, knowing that you're there to help."
The medics conducted general health care consultations to approximately 200 patients during their three-day mission in Chernitsa. More than 250 pairs of eyeglasses were distributed by the optometrist and general practitioners.
"I think this is proof of the interest the U.S. Army provokes in the local people because they've been in line from early morning to get ready for the checkup," said Hristova. "All the local people think that the attitude of the U.S. medics is great. All of them are very kind and they pay a lot attention."
"It was very useful that they can speak to doctors and check their health status. And of course, the glasses that we received, this is the biggest benefit probably for a lot of people," said Hristova. "We are very, very grateful for this assistance."
The humanitarian civic assistance medical mission supports nine villages near Novo Selo Training Area. These are combined Bulgarian and U.S. visits that provide support and assistance in optometry and public health. The duration of each visit is between 2-3 days that includes screening exams and classes in oral hygiene, prevention of heart disease, and women and children's health education.
The medical assistance is part of Joint Task Force-East's humanitarian missions. JTF-E is a program of combined training with Bulgaria, Romania and the United States to improve interoperability and foster professional partnerships.