SIHOUNKVILLE, Kingdom of Cambodia --
Seventeen service members with the Royal Cambodian Navy and 16 non-government officials worked alongside 24 Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, to provide medical support to approximately 2,100 patients during a Medical Civic Action Project, held Feb. 27-March 1.
The three-day event was a part of Cambodian Maritime Exercise 2011. The MEDCAP consisted of five stations; vital signs, general medicine, wound care, optometry and a pharmacy. Before checking in and receiving their diagnosis, patients received a class on birth control from Cambodian NGOs.
The medical team treated patients with anything from minor aches and pains to cysts and broken bones. Most conditions were easily treated, however others required additional assets and were brought to free clinic for further treatment.
Although the Cambodians were the lead during the project and provided most of the medical supplies, they were happy to have the Marines and sailors to provide a helping hand.
“It was an excellent opportunity for everyone to come together and get involved,” said Cmdr. Ky Yadeth, Chief of Medical Services for the Royal Cambodian Navy. “Even with a language barrier we all we able to interact successfully and because of that the project was a great accomplishment.”
In order to treat as many patients as they did, the team of bilateral service members and NGOs had to work efficiently and effectively. The MEDCAP had much to offer the local villagers and the team made sure everyone was able to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Without the hard work and effort everyone put into this we wouldn’t have the outcome we do,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Magajna, the battalion surgeon for Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “Not only were we able to give something to the community but I think my sailors we able to learn from the Cambodians as well.”
The 31st MEU visited and conducted bilateral training as part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Cooperation program with the Kingdom of Cambodia. The program provides a unique and dynamic opportunity for cooperation between the U.S. and Cambodian military, while also promoting relationship-building between militaries and local communities.