News: Cooperative health engagement team provides a helping hand
Story by Sgt. Rory Featherston
CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, Kingdom of Thailand – A team of multinational service members conducted a cooperative health engagement Feb. 18 at Ban Piang Elementary School in Chiang Mai province, Kingdom of Thailand, as part of ongoing humanitarian and civic assistance projects during exercise Cobra Gold 2013.
During the cooperative health engagement, the team worked alongside their civilian Thai medical counterparts to provide onsite health, vision, dental and veterinary assistance to residents of the local community.
“The goal of this exercise is to continue moving toward capacity building … so that the health and welfare of the people of Thailand and the people of the surrounding nations will improve,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Russel C. Gilbert, force surgeon for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
HCA projects are being conducted throughout Thailand during CG 13, providing the local population with general medical exams, eye exams and glasses, and onsite dental procedures such as oral health exams and tooth extraction.
In Chiang Mai province, service members provided veterinary assistance at a local animal rescue center, allowing veterinarians from the U.S., Indonesia and Malaysia to work with Thai veterinarians to give rabies vaccinations and de-worming treatments to cats and dogs.
For U.S. Army Capt. Sara Hegge, doctor of Veterinarian Medicine, 106th Medical Detachment, “The goal for the veterinary support side of the HCA (project) was to provide veterinary assistance to people in the local communities that wouldn't normally get their pets vaccinate for rabies.”
CG 13 is a multinational exercise design to promote cooperation with countries through the Asia-Pacific region. The cooperative health engagements provide service members from Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia an opportunity to share their knowledge and medical experience and help the people of Thailand.
“The experience so far has been really great,” said Hegge. “They (the U.S. Marines) have done an outstanding job coordinating these events, and they have done an especially good job of reaching out to the provincial Thai veterinarians … it has truly made a difference in this mission’s success.”