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Medical Civic Action Program in Shinile Woreda, Ethiopia, 2010

Nursing students go door to door to dispense medication during a medical civic action program, Shinile Woreda, Ethiopia, Oct. 14, 2010.


U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kat McDowell


Nursing students from the Arts Medical College of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, with help from the U.S. Army 418th Civil Function Specialty Team, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, distributed medications to more than 900 children in seven remote villages during the second phase of a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) to improve health conditions in the Shinile Woreda (district), south of Djibouti Oct. 19.


Medications distributed were tailored to the results of parasitological testing of samples collected from children in the area during the first phase of the Shinile MEDCAP. Children were treated for Schistosoma mansoni and hookworms, parasitic worms that cause dysentery, dehydration, anemia and skin lesions.


“Part of the sustainability piece of these missions is the collaboration between our medical and nursing experts and the students,” said U.S. Army Maj. Brad Franklin, an FSP nurse practitioner. “Sharing experiences with the students helps guide the next generation of healthcare professionals in Ethiopia.”


Franklin said the participating students would graduate in a year’s time. The MEDCAP provided them practical field experience to better prepare them for future responsibilities, including how to treat patients with limited supplies and capabilities in rural situations.


“Most cases we’ve only read about and haven’t seen,” said Kadar Mohammed, one of the four nursing students involve. “Things like elephantiaisis and gout, we only hear about in class. This experience will help us better care for the people that need it most.”


In the third phase of the mission, more samples will be collected from children in Shinile Woreda and tested for parasites. Data from all phases of the MEDCAP will be provided to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to augment their knowledge base and awareness of health issues in Shinile.


“The upshot is that healthier populations are more stable populations,” said Staff Sgt. Douglas Rueff, 418th CA combat medic.


“If the government can show it can provide basic services for the people, the people will feel more connected to the government and feel less sympathetic to extremist groups that come through the area. This helps the long-term view,” he said.


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Taken on October 14, 2010