News: Medical aid delivered to east Baghdad clinics
Story by Spc. Courtney Marulli
by Spc. Courtney E. Marulli
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq - Part of getting Iraq back on its feet involves ensuring hospitals and clinics can provide services to the people. Soldiers in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, are helping by giving out medical supplies and medicines to private and public clinics in the Al Amin area of eastern Baghdad.
1st Lt. Matthew J. Cardellino, the platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Co. C, 2nd Battalion, 16th Inf., said he and his Soldiers went through the area on Aug. 16, and tried to hand out supplies, but most of the clinics were closed. So, on Aug. 21, they tried again and were successful.
Cardellino, a native of Jenkintown, Pa., said he and his Soldiers received a positive response from the people when they dropped supplies off at the clinics.
"They want to get most supplies from the Ministry of Health, but some are not averse to getting supplies from us," he said.
Taking supplies to the clinics is an ongoing project, but also part of ensuring the clinics are up to par, which includes making sure there is electricity to run the clinic during its operating hours. Giving out supplies, Cardellino said, is also a way to put a human face on things.
The main goal is to let the people know that coalition forces are here to help and many people seem to appreciate that help, Cardellino said. The Soldiers received help from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi National Police Division, who went out on a joint patrol and helped unload and deliver the supplies.
"The great thing about it is that we're working in conjunction with the local government," he said.
Patrolling together and presenting a united presence shows the populace that the government is trying to work in the best interest of the people, Cardellino said.
"It's a great confidence booster for the people to see the local government actually trying to help out," he said. "We're just a facilitator."
When they stop at a clinic, both coalition forces and Iraqi national police members walk inside and talk to the owners of the clinic and the doctors to see what the clinic is in need of. The facilities are family clinics and one was crowded with numerous women, children and even newborns.
The women just sit quietly holding either quiet or crying children and the children just watch the Soldiers with curious eyes.
Unloading the supplies didn't take long. The Iraqi national police members opened the ambulance they were driving and helped coalition forces download boxes and carry them to the clinics.
Working together is always a challenge due to the language barrier, but the relationship has always been good and has gotten even better, Cardellino said.
"They are taking their jobs more seriously now," he said of the national police. "Giving them tasks shows them this is your responsibility to take charge of your neighborhoods."
Cardellino said the residents respond well to the national police presence, and some even wave as they drive past.
"They interact with the people just like us," he said.