Sea Service Docs Provide Medical Care to Jordanians
By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2000 Navy doctors and corpsmen used their skills and gained valuable experience in the past 10 days by providing basic medical care to about 600 civilians in several Jordanian villages.
The 23 sailors participated in a Jan. 24-Feb. 2 exercise dubbed MedCAP/DenCAP, for medical civil assistance program/dental civil assistance program. The program is a partnership with Royal Jordanian Medical Services to provide care to rural villagers, said Marine Capt. Mark Oswell, a spokesman for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which took part in the exercise. Members of Navy Fleet Surgical Team Two, assigned to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., and crew members of the USS Bataan, currently on a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf, also participated.
The Jordanians provided additional medical personnel and translators. The medics were accompanied by a Marine security detail as well.
This allows our doctors, dentists, medical personnel and corpsmen to work alongside theirs, Oswell said. They visit out-of-the-way areas where medical and dental assistance isnt readily accessible and teach each other in basic screening and basic education classes.
Were seeing all comers, from school-age kids to people in their 90s. One woman said she was 120, said Navy Dr. (Lt.) Dain Wahl, assigned to the 22nd MEU. These people see a doctor once a year at best. It gives us all a different look at medicine. He said the group screened villagers in local school buildings and saw mostly common ailments and not a lot of surprises.
We see a lot of glaucoma, cataracts and arthritis. These are typical ailments for Americans, but we can treat them, Wahl said in a telephone interview. Here they cant, and were seeing chronic health problems caused by these diseases that we normally do not see in the United States.
He also said the team has seen a lot of children with asthma caused by smoking, something else not that common in the United States.
Another Navy doctor from the 22nd MEU, Lt. Doug Bunting, said the team was well prepared for the tasks at hand thanks to prior coordination with the Jordanian doctors. We brought very basic equipment and x-ray capabilities, he said. We also have a large supply of medicines. We worked with the Jordanians to see what is commonly used over here.
There are a couple medicines we wish we had more of. The Tylenol and ibuprofen weve been going through pretty quick, he said.
Bunting explained that even common over-the-counter medications are hard for the Jordanians to come by. These villages are mostly concrete apartment buildings with maybe one store and no pharmacy, he said.
The team was also equipped with a dental truck, allowing them to provide basic dental services such as filling cavities and pulling teeth.
(Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service, assisted in this report.)