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U.S. Soldiers, Iraqis Celebrate Hospital's Reopening

By Spc. Mary Rose Xenikakis, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BADUSH, Iraq, Oct. 27, 2003 – U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens joined in celebrating the reopening of the Badush Hospital here Oct. 22.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Handshakes and smiles filled the Badush Hospital in Iraq Oct. 22 at the re-opening of the only hospital in the town. Lt. Col. Donald G. Fryc, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment commander, and Dr. Mohamed Noori Sieed, a general practitioner at the hospital, greet each other before the festivities of the reopening. Photo by Spc. Mary Rose Xenikakis, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Local hires and soldiers from the U.S. Army's 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment worked for six weeks to reopen the hospital. The project was funded through Commander's Emergency Relief Program funds with an allowance of $50,000 from Brig. Gen. Jeffery J. Schloesser, assistant division commander for support, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

"If we work together anything can happen," Lt. Col. Donald G. Fryc, 2nd Battalion commander, commented to the crowd that had gathered for cake after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"It cost $38,000 just for the reconstruction of the building," said Chief Warrant Officer Mark Bowes, project manager. "The other $12,000 was used for supplies, like tables and medicines."

The hospital serves not only the 8,000 residents of Badush, but also the people living in 25 outlying villages. The staff at the primary health care center sees about 120 patients a day.

"The Badush Hospital was originally a maternal and child care center," said Dr. Mohamed Noori Sieed, general practitioner at the hospital. He added that the facility also holds lectures on preventive medicine, hygiene, vaccinations and proper care of infants for mothers.

The hospital has 35 employees, which include four medical practitioners and three dentists. "Most of our work here is preventive," Sieed said.

The Badush Hospital relies on emergency hospitals in Mosul for surgical or emergency procedures. "If we have an emergency, we send them in an ambulance to Mosul for care," Sieed said.

With a refurbished building and new equipment, the hospital has a new start in helping the local people get quality health care.

The regiment has been working in Badush for some time now, trying to rebuild what was torn down. Badush recently celebrated the reopening of its local school with help from soldiers in the regiment. The town's prison is the first in northern Iraq to reopen.

"We're making small steps every day," Fryc said. "I think the Badush community is a real success story."

(Army Spc. Mary Rose Xenikakis is assigned to the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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