ISAF gives medical aid to Bouldac villagers

18 Jun 2010 | Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar

Marines and medical officers from I Marine Headquarters Group and 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD), a British platoon, a Danish liaison training team, a squad from the Afghan National Army and an ANA medic traveled to Bouldac, a village near Camp Leatherneck, June 16, to conduct a village medical outreach and provide medical aid to the locals.

The VMO site was set up at a centralized location of the village compounds. A large tent was set up for the outreach patients and solar-netting was put up over the waiting area. The medical team, with the ANA medic taking the lead, helped 45 patients at the centralized site.

Meanwhile, a female engagement team escorted I MEF female medical staff to each compound within the Bouldac village. The FET was needed to escort the medics because the females have strict religious views that keep them within their compounds. But, bringing the female doctors to the compounds made the villagers more comfortable and the medical staff was able to treat 36 patients within their homes, during the day.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik J. Belty, a corpsman with Preventive Medical Detachment, I Marine Headquarters Group, said he enjoyed this outreach because he was able to treat patients. He taught each patient different hygiene techniques and before leaving the medical tent they were all given a bag of hygiene items.

Belty from Riverside, Calif., also said that some of the villagers who came for treatment had long-term issues that could only be treated with temporary medication.

The men and children have very little access to health care, but as the females rarely leave their compounds, most of them have never seen a doctor.

A female engagement team escorted I MEF female medical staff throughout the compounds and were able to see 36 patients throughout the day. The FET was needed to bring the medics through because most local Afghan women are kept from society because of religious views and they are in opposition to any male interaction.

Behind the scenes, Marines from Grave 2, Bravo Battery, 3rd LAAD, I MHG (FWD), was the security element for the site.

1st Lt. Sean M. McCullough, platoon commander of Grave 2, Bravo Battery, 3rd LAAD, I MHG (FWD), said his Marines worked well with the British, Danish and the ANA security teams that were on the site.

“The Marines did a great job,” said McCullough, “[We] couldn’t have had a better security element and still be welcoming to the villagers.”

The ISAF plans to provide medical help around Helmand province and continues to build good relations with the people of Afghanistan.