News: Medical personnel host MEDCAPs throughout Thailand
Story by Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie
KANCHANABURI PROVINCE, Thailand — Doctors, dentists and veterinarians from the Armed Forces of Indonesia, Japan, Kingdom of Thailand, Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States, came together at the Baan Kroeng Kra Reaon School, in the Kanchanaburi province, for the first of seven Medical Civic Assistance Projects in support of Exercise Cobra Gold 2010, Feb 1.
Royal Thai Army Col. Krittikorn Rasamiputanon, chief, Humanitarian Civic Assistance projects said these projects are very helpful to many areas in the country.
"I would like to have this kind of wonderful project go on for years to come. There are many places in Thailand which are still under developed that can use this kind of help," he said.
The 52 multinational personnel will travel throughout the kingdom of Thailand to seven different sites, seeing as many as 500 patients daily said Lt. Col. Curt White, a Civil Affairs officer assigned to the 18th Medical Command, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.
The classrooms of the school were used as makeshift treatment areas, where doctors and dentists had a steady stream of people.
"So far everything has gone well," said White.
Ensuring that all patients could accurately articulate their concerns were a group of interpreters, which White said were extremely helpful with the process.
Ministry of Defense Japan Chief of Medicine and Plans Operations Maj. Yamasaki Toshishiro said he felt that despite the language differences, the medical personnel were able to come together to assist the various communities under a common goal of healthcare. "Having this kind of event stabilizes for peace and understanding of common medical issues makes it easy for us to have one team," he said.
"It's really helpful having all the interpreters, especially since it's necessary to find out exactly what is wrong with a person, and we can't speak Thai and they can't speak Indonesian, and so forth."
Across the school's quad, Maj. Robert Paul, a U.S. Army veterinarian from Camp Zama, Japan District Veterinary Center, tended to animals brought in by locals as well as strays in the area.
"We plan to go to the temple here and vaccinate stray dogs. "A lot of people tend to drop off strays because they know the monks at the temple will feed them."
Five of the seven MEDCAP sites are located at the same schools where multinational forces are working together to build multi-purpose rooms for the schools.
"The projects of Engineering and Medical are a wonderful project which could help to develop the quality of life for local people and also can support the basic needs of this community," said Rasamiputanon. "Also these projects build a strong relationship between Royal Thai Military, U.S. Military, and the military of other nations with each other and with local people in the communities."
CG10 is a regularly scheduled joint and coalition multinational exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand. It is the 29th anniversary for the exercise, consisting of a coalition task force, United Nations Task Force, Command Post Exercise, HCA projects and field training exercises.