News: Cooperative Health Engagement reaches out to Guinobatan community
Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn
GUINOBATAN, Philippines – Philippine and U.S. forces provided medical assistance to locals and animals in the Guinobatan community during a cooperative health engagement May 7 - 9.
The cooperative health engagement was held as a part of Exercise Balikatan, an annual bilateral training exercise held between members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. armed forces to strengthen the relationship and interoperability between the two nations.
Medical assistance included general check-ups for children and adults, prescribing medications, vaccinations for cattle and veterinary care for dogs, according to Florentino Orozco an agriculture technician in Guinobatan.
“The animals also received deworming, vitamins and castrations,” said Orozco. “It’s good receiving this kind of assistance from the Philippine and U.S. forces.”
More than 850 local community members and 100 animals received treatment during the three-day event.
“I am happy I can get treatment for my dog,” said Belina Paloya, a Gunobatan local. “The Filipinos and Americans working together is great for our community.”
Other concerns were brought to light during the cooperative health engagement. Bernadette Palmores, a Guinobatan local, found out her one-year-old daughter Shaira-Mae Palmores was in dire need of going to the hospital thanks to one of the free check-ups.
“We suspect she may have a severe infection,” said U.S. Army Col. Steven Spencer, pediatrician from Walter Reed National Medical Center. “There’s only so much we can do here…thankfully we were able to diagnose [Shaira-Mae] and get her sent to a hospital to receive full treatment.”
An ambulance arrived to take the infant to the nearest hospital where she was able to receive the necessary care because of the referral provided by the CHE doctors.
“We were able to make a difference today,” said U.S. Army Maj. Rory Walley, the medical CHE officer in charge. “Because of what we brought, we were able to provide people with what they need and potentially save a few lives.”