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NMCB-7 Corpsmen Breathe Life and Health into Afghan Villages

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070831-08
Release Date: 8/31/2007 11:56:00 AM

From Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Public Affairs

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (NNS) -- After a special forces team secured a compound in a local village outside a forward operating base in Afghanistan, Aug. 15, a medical team prepared to move in.

The team included Navy Independent Duty Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Jennifer Kraus, a nurse practitioner who also acts as a veterinarian, an Army medic, doctor, dentist and dental technician.

Almost as soon as the move-in was completed, patients began to arrive to receive much needed medical attention.

The patients were first searched to ensure they were not carrying any weapons. Once cleared, the patients were moved to the triage area where they were assessed and treated.

For the local population, this was a rare opportunity to receive treatment and medication, as they were living in poor conditions, which included no running water or electricity.

The medical staff was also able to treat the children for common ailments due to malnutrition.

“Most of the villagers were not shy and were very curious about the visitors to their area,” said Kraus. “The role of the female providers was instrumental in the completion of this mission as the culture in the area forbids women from being seen by any man other than their husband. The female providers therefore were able to give much needed medical attention to the women of the village.”

An interpreter was on hand and made triaging and treating patients much easier.

The local patients continued to show up for treatment until all medical supplies were expended. Throughout the course of the first day, 869 patients received medical treatment for their ailments. The most common of ailments treated included fever, chills, headaches and other minor problems.

The second day outside the wire provided the medical staff an opportunity to bring medical care to a village with a few more amenities than the previous site.

“This village had a well with potable water within walking distance of the home, a luxury for many villages,” said Kraus. “The special forces Soldiers were again on hand to set up a secure location to provide treatment and to search prospective patients.”

The second day saw many more patients, totaling 2,084, including men, women and children. Many displayed the same medical issues as the previous day.

“The locals were so grateful for the help that they brought lunch to the medical staff as a gesture of thanks,” described Kraus.

At the end of the day, the medical staff began their convoy back to the forward operating base.

“Along the way, children were running alongside the convoy thanking the staff for all they had done,” said Kraus. “For the medical staff, this provided a feeling of fulfillment and pride knowing that we had done well and made a difference in someone’s life.”

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