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Residents of Khandari receive medical help

18 May 2006 | Cpl. William Skelton

More than 500 Iraqi men, women and children were given medical treatment in the heart of the Khandari Market here May 18.

The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police set up shop in a school house with the help of 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.  Their goal – to provide the residents of the small town medical support they otherwise couldn’t get

“Today is a very happy event,” said Iraqi Army Pvt. Sadak Rathie Chad, a 31-year-old Iraqi soldier.  “We did good things for the people of Khandari today.”

The Coalition medical team in Khandari treated nearly 500 people -- 200 more people than a previous clinic held by the battalion in Hamandiyah.  Iraqi police, stationed in Nasser Wa Salaam, took part in the operation providing necessary medical attention.

“Most of the doctors in the area have left,” said Ali Zahmel Tulfah, a 24-year-old Iraqi policeman. “These people don’t have anyone to see here.  They have to travel far to get basic medical attention.”

Marines from the battalion along with soldiers from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division supplied all of the medicine and civil affairs items passed out during the event.

“I think the day was a great success,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael E. Martin, a 39-year-old independent duty corpsman from Las Vegas. “We got all of the supplies needed for the ‘med op’ together with help from the Army.  I just wish we had more, so we could have treated everyone who came out today.”

Medical personnel treated common ailments for the most part and were able to treat most conditions with everyday remedies. The most common being dehydration and joint pain.

“Most of the people who came in today were complaining of knee and elbow pain or headaches,” said Army Capt. Melissa L. Moreno, a 32-year-old physician assistant from Hopkins, Mo. “We gave them some anti-inflammatory medication, Tylenol and a lot of multi-vitamins.”

Iraqi locals also received blankets, t-shirts, water and other items provided by the battalion’s civil affairs groups.  When the day was done, the people of Khandari knew that their Iraqi forces genuinely cared and were there for them.

The crowd exceeded expectations and Iraqi authorities are hopeful to repeat the assistance mission soon.

“I hope we can do more events like this in the area,” said Iraqi Police 2nd Lt. Omar Hattim Mehedi, the 23-year-old platoon commander. “I would like to see us be able to do things like this in other towns where people don’t have doctors as well.”

“Hopefully today has taken down a wall between us and the Iraqi people,” said Iraqi Army 1st Lt. Muntesr Abdl Kareem, the 26-year-old platoon commander with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade. “The people of Iraq will take sides.  They will see we are here to help them and that the insurgents are only out to hurt them.”