News: Doctors with ND National Guard join Ghana Armed Forces at local clinics
ACCRA, Ghana — Soldiers from the 814th Medical Company of the North Dakota Army National Guard and the Ghana Armed Forces completed the last of three humanitarian civic assistant sites in Doryumu, Accra, July 19 as part of MEDFLAG 11.
Soldiers from the Iowa-based 949th Veterinary Company of the U.S. Army Reserve and the Texas-based 965th Dental Company of the U.S. Army Reserve worked alongside the 814th and GAF.
The diverse team of soldiers provided care in Ablekuma-Mataheko and Dawhenya earlier this week.
MEDFLAG 11, a bilateral exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Africa, is performed to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Ghana through 10 days of collaborative training during which medical, dental and veterinary knowledge is shared to improve proficiency of both countries’ clinics.
The first portion of MEDFLAG 11 included five days of classroom training. This training allowed soldiers from both teams to present information about how they perform tasks and what running their clinics is like.
“By learning this material in the classroom setting beforehand, we are able to go into this experience with a firm understanding of what to expect,” said Spc. Kerry Thompson, of Bismarck, N.D., a combat medic with the 814th.
This training led to three days of hands-on application at the three HCA (humanitarian civic assistance) sites. The medical staff from the U.S. and Ghana worked side-by-side to provide high-quality clinical health care for as many citizens in the communities as possible.
“Getting to work with other people from another side of the world is a great experience,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ruby Amegavluie, a nurse with the 37th Military Hospital in Accra. “It is such a great opportunity to learn from each other and share ideas.”
The HCA sites perform tasks similar to a walk-in clinic, providing basic medical care for illnesses such as colds, coughs and aching joints. The most common illness seen at all locations was malaria.
“The community also benefits so much,” Amegavluie said. “It would be great to be able to hold this exercise again.”
On the first day of administering care, the team treated nearly 300 patients. The second and third days proved equally successful after the team provided care for about 420 patients on the second and about 440 on the third.
“Nobody has complained about the care they have received,” Amegavluie said. “All patients seem very happy to have our help.”
Both teams have learned a great deal about each other and themselves during this exercise, both professionally and personally.
“It is amazing to connect with people from such a different area and realizing we aren’t that different after all,” Thompson said. “I have met people I will never forget and formed bonds I will never let go of.”
A key program in the United States’ efforts to partner with the government of Ghana, MEDFLAG 11 is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and African partner militaries with the aim of establishing and developing military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort and capacity-building.
Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command. Dedicated to positive change in Africa, U.S. Army Africa enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote security, stability, and peace. U.S. Army Africa is commanded by U.S. Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg.
Date Posted:07.21.2011 10:37
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