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Kenya MEDCAP Delivers Aid

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070319-06
Release Date: 3/19/2007 12:31:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Brian Anderson, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

BARGONI, Kenya (NNS) -- Medical personnel from the USS Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and members of the Kenyan Navy successfully conducted a Medical Civil Actions Program (MEDCAP) March 7-8 while participating in Exercise Edged Mallet 2007.

Edged Mallet is an annual exercise that provides U.S. and Kenyan armed forces the opportunity to refine operational skills while enhancing their ability to work together effectively and strengthen the longstanding relationship between the two countries.

Nearly 50 Sailors and Marines from USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Shreveport (LSD 12), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) worked with eight members of the Kenyan Navy to provide medical care to 261 local children and adults over the two-day period.

“This was an opportunity to do many great things,” said MEDCAP Officer in Charge Lt. Kyle Kee of the 26th MEU. “This project not only fosters good will and relations between the United States and Kenya, but it also increases the overall health of this area by providing medical care to people who don’t have it.”

Local residents set up four medical stations and one dental information booth at the Bargoni site. There, medical personnel screened patients, took their vitals and examined them before administering medications.

“We are here to offer help and care to as many as we can,” said Capt. David Wright, MEDCAP senior medical officer.

As many as eight months prior to MEDCAP, Kenyan officials discussed the overall health of the area with Navy officials.

“Before the project, we learned about the tropical diseases we might see and some of the medicines and procedures to treat them,” Wright said. “We saw issues such as respiratory problems, intestinal and parasite infections, back troubles and other level-one types of cases. We referred anything we could not treat to the Kenyans for further care.”

The groups learned a lot from each other.

“I am very impressed with the attention to detail,” said Kenyan Sgt. Cheshire K. Dan, a physician’s assistant. “In this area for example, we see many cases of malaria and typhoid. They are very similar in symptoms. This experience working with Navy medical staff will help me investigate further for a diagnosis.”

The visit was uplifting for everybody.

“It’s a boost to morale of the local people and to us as well,” said Kenyan Medical Officer Maj. Protus Nyongesa. “It’s nice to interact with the Americans and share ideas about medicine.”

During MEDCAP, local residents from the coastal region traveled up to two miles to receive advice, treatment and other medical guidance otherwise unavailable where they live.

“We walked for three hours,” said local resident Madina Irshad, who brought nine members of her family for the opportunity to receive health care after hearing about MEDCAP by word of mouth.

The united groups will take a lot away from MEDCAP.

“For the teams to work outside of their normal working environment is huge,” said Kee. “The Sailors and Marines here learned more about their own field, shared knowledge and ideas about medicine and gained more of an appreciation for healthcare in other countries and their own.”

The MEDCAP site was adjacent to a community relations project where Combat Logistics Battalion 26 Marines and Sailors worked with Kenyan army personnel to restore the Bargoni Primary School.

Bataan ESG is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group, commanded by Capt. Donna Looney, commander Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 2, and the 26th MEU based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant. Bataan Strike Group includes PHIBRON 2, Bataan, USS Shreveport, USS Oak Hill, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

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