Air Force

July 5, 2013

163d Medical Group treats island locals in joint exercise

Tags:
Senior Airman Michael Quiboloy
163d RW public affairs

Maj. Maria Ignacio, nurse practitioner, 163rd Medical Group, California Air National Guard, March Air Reserve Base, checks local man Ernesto Leano for ear disease using an otoscope at the Iao Intermediate School in Wailuku, Hawaii, last month. More than 500 U.S. service members spread across Hawaii for Tropic Care 2013, a deployment readiness training exercise that offers free health care to medically underserved areas of the state.

WAILUKU, Hawaii. – Twenty-four members of the 163d Medical Group from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., participated in Tropic Care 2013, a joint readiness training mission that offered free health care to medically underserved areas of the state from June 4 to 12. They joined more than 500 other U.S. service members that gathered across Hawaii for the operation.

The Innovative Readiness Training mission was designed to prepare service members for rapid response missions and disaster relief in a tropical setting while simultaneously aiding the local populace, said Air Force Col. Jerry Arends, mission director for Tropic Care 2013. It involved active duty, Guard and Reserve units from the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy.

Optometry, dentistry, physical exams and counseling were among the types of care provided, all of which locals received on a “first come, first served” basis, free of charge and without any form of identification required until operations ended on June 12.

By mission’s end, the clinics saw approximately 6,000 optometry patients, 3,000 dental patients and 3,000 medical patients. More than a thousand prescription glasses were made during the mission, the largest IRT operation to date.

Members of the 163 MDG were spread out across three islands. The group included junior enlisted airmen getting their first experiences with this type of training.

“For them it’s very valuable because it gives them an overview of what we actually do in the field, especially for someone new to the unit that’s never been deployed,” said Maj. Julian Manalo, site commander for the Iao Intermediate School clinic. “It gives them a chance to see what it’s like, to see the living conditions and what’s involved with the work. It’s good training.”

The medical group’s team included optometry technicians, dental hygienists, nurses, a pediatrician, a logistics specialist, a dentist, medics, public health specialists, two site commanders and more. They were joined by Col. David Walton, California Air National Guard’s state air surgeon, who provided his services in women’s health on Lana’i.

The group was a major contributor to the mission, with personnel working at several clinical sites in Maui, Ka’u and on the big island of Hawaii.

Senior Airman Katy Peña, a medic, was among the 163 MDG’s team members in Maui. She said the mission was an excellent training experience as well as an excellent life experience.

“On one hand you get real-world training, treating people with symptoms that you don’t normally see on the mainland,” said Peña. “On the other hand, you also see what the conditions are like for people who live here and can’t afford health care. You really learn to appreciate things.”

Some were prescribed medicine for simple aches and pains, others were able to receive prescription glasses made completely on-site, and there were even potentially life-changing experiences.

Manalo and Peña recalled a young girl who traveled from another island with her mother when they heard about the military’s offering of free medical treatment. The girl suffered from elephantiasis, a condition characterized by the gross enlargement of areas of the body, typically the limbs. The parasitic infection had caused the girl’s leg to balloon in size, which caused her pain and also stunted her growth. She was 14 years old, though at first glance many thought she was closer to half that age.

She was able to be treated and referred to the Department of Public Health for continued treatment. It was estimated that her leg would return to a normal size in about one year, which would enable her to live a more normal life.

Another local was particularly grateful for the mission.

“It is a blessing for me because I don’t have health care,” said 61-year-old Ernesto Leano, who was being treated for back problems. “I said, ‘thank God,’ when I saw this.”

“I’m very happy to see you here,” said Leano. “I will never forget in my life how they helped me here.”

The next destination for the 163 MDG is Latvia, as they accompany a civil engineer unit on a mission to build a schoolhouse. That mission is slated for August.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Sean Dath

Local organization donates packages to March troops

U.S. Air Force photo/Sean Dath Nora Shaw, project coordinator for Sariaya Association of California, puts the final touches on a care package prior to it being sent to deployed servicemembers from March ARB. Deployed service me...
 
 

‘Tis the season to drink responsibly

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — It’s that time of year when holiday parties and late night celebrations begin to fill our calendars and we look forward to spending time with family and friends to celebrate our own special reasons for the season. Every Christmas Eve, I celebrate my life and I give thanks...
 
 

Good cyber security habits essential during holidays

With so many new methods for cyber theft, it’s important to remember to take extra steps to protect your bank accounts and money this season, as criminals look to take advantage of the increased spending activity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and your wallet. Here are some tips for...
 

 

Shop and donate wisely this holiday season

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently issued tips on how Californians can protect themselves from identity theft and make the most of their charitable giving throughout this holiday season. Tips for safe shopping: Review your bank and credit card statements frequently for unusual and unfamiliar transactions. In the event of a security breach involving...
 
 
HBI--strength-training-getting-started

Build a better body through strength training

Strength training, also called weight training, boosts your metabolism by adding lean muscle, helping you lose weight and keep it off. It can also prevent diabetes, fight aging, keep your bones strong, protect your memory, lowe...
 
 

Air Force Fitness Management System slated for upgrade

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard officers and enlisted members who want to maintain copies of their pre-July 2010 fitness records need to access the Air Force Fitness Management System (AFFMS) and save or print their records by Dec. 30, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Dec....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin