Monday, February 16, 2009

New Clinic Provides Care For Six Villages

by Heidi Davis
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula

KURDISTAN — Named in honor of Brig. Gen. Kenneth Tovo’s service in Iraq, the Tovo Medical Clinic opened its doors in the Kani Karweshkan foothills here, Feb. 12. The facility will help significantly improve the region’s medical care and provide essential services throughout the Kurdish autonomous region, said a Coalition forces adviser.

The clinic provides nearly 500 residents from six surrounding villages access to a medical facility and services with a staff of three full-time doctors.

The location of the clinic also increases the chances of survivability by providing people in a community, where vehicular transportation is scarce, access because of the clinic’s central location. Access results in more immediate care, so patients can be stabilized before they are moved to another medical facility, if more specialized care is necessary.

“Most of the trauma cases we see are due to snake and scorpion bites to farmers working the fields,” said the regional tribal leader. “These patients can receive care immediately, lowering their chances of death.”

Potential long-term projects include paving the clinic route to make it more accessible, drilling wells to provide water to the clinic, establishing nearby electrical lines for communication, and expanding clinic services.

“The opening of this clinic is just one of several planned to promote local participation and demonstrate the government’s commitment to maintaining security while encouraging social and capital development,” said Col. Bill Buckner, spokesman for Multi-National Corps – Iraq. “Projects like this one create short-term benefits and long-term potential consistent with the intended goals of the Iraqi and CF partnership. Short-term, the clinic makes medical care for potentially fatal illnesses and injuries more accessible.”

A local representative reiterated that commitment, saying, “Give me a list of everything the staff needs, whether it is equipment, medications or supplies, and I will take care of it,” he told the head tribal leader. “Coalition forces helped build the clinic, but it is our job to sustain it.”

Dr. Ako, Halabja, director of health, talks with local media representatives at the opening of the Tovo Medical Clinic, Feb. 12, in the foothills of Kani Karweshkan.

Source: CENTCOM.

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