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U.S. and Congolese Medical Personnel Provide Medical and Dental Care to Local Residents
Crowds gathered, some with pre-registered tickets in hand, others with just a hope of being seen by a healthcare professional. <br /> <br />"I saw a crowd of people and asked what was going on," said Ousmane Kalotho Mutuala, a Kinshasa resident.
KINSHASA, Congo - Sergeant Julianna Ogren of Linton, North Dakota prepares medicine for local residents of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Ogren, a member of the 814th Army Support Medical Company in Bismarck, North Dakota, is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo addressing medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 4: KINSHASA, Congo - Sergeant Julianna Ogren of Linton, North Dakota prepares medicine for local residents of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Ogren, a member of the 814th Army Support Medical Company in Bismarck, North Dakota, is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo addressing medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims) Download full-resolution version
KINSHASA, Congo - Residents of Kinshasa, Congo wait in line to receive medical and dental care at the Humanitarian Civic Action site, September 14, 2010. Approximately 2,000 residents were seen over a four-day period during MEDFLAG 10, a joint medical exercise between the U.S. military and the Congo armed forces which provided humanitarian assistance to the local people. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder, Illinois National Guard)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 4: KINSHASA, Congo - Residents of Kinshasa, Congo wait in line to receive medical and dental care at the Humanitarian Civic Action site, September 14, 2010. Approximately 2,000 residents were seen over a four-day period during MEDFLAG 10, a joint medical exercise between the U.S. military and the Congo armed forces which provided humanitarian assistance to the local people. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder, Illinois National Guard) Download full-resolution version
KINSHASA, Congo - Local Congolese citizens sit in a makeshift waiting room to see medical staff of the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) during a humanitarian and civic assistance outreach program, September 14, 2010 in Kinshasa, DRC. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 4: KINSHASA, Congo - Local Congolese citizens sit in a makeshift waiting room to see medical staff of the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) during a humanitarian and civic assistance outreach program, September 14, 2010 in Kinshasa, DRC. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder) Download full-resolution version
KINSHASA, Congo - A dental professional from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) calls on the next patient to be seen by a dentist during the humanitarian civic action in Kinshasa, DRC, September 14, 2010. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 4 of 4: KINSHASA, Congo - A dental professional from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) calls on the next patient to be seen by a dentist during the humanitarian civic action in Kinshasa, DRC, September 14, 2010. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims) Download full-resolution version
KINSHASA, Congo - Sergeant Julianna Ogren of Linton, North Dakota prepares medicine for local residents of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Ogren, a member of the 814th Army Support Medical Company in Bismarck, North Dakota, is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo addressing medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims)
KINSHASA, Congo - Residents of Kinshasa, Congo wait in line to receive medical and dental care at the Humanitarian Civic Action site, September 14, 2010. Approximately 2,000 residents were seen over a four-day period during MEDFLAG 10, a joint medical exercise between the U.S. military and the Congo armed forces which provided humanitarian assistance to the local people. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder, Illinois National Guard)
KINSHASA, Congo - Local Congolese citizens sit in a makeshift waiting room to see medical staff of the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) during a humanitarian and civic assistance outreach program, September 14, 2010 in Kinshasa, DRC. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Kassidy Snyder)
KINSHASA, Congo - A dental professional from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) calls on the next patient to be seen by a dentist during the humanitarian civic action in Kinshasa, DRC, September 14, 2010. The U.S. military is in the DRC participating in MEDFLAG 10, a joint training exercise between the U.S. and the FARDC focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance training. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant James D. Sims)
Crowds gathered, some with pre-registered tickets in hand, others with just a hope of being seen by a healthcare professional.

"I saw a crowd of people and asked what was going on," said Ousmane Kalotho Mutuala, a Kinshasa resident. "When they told me it was for medical care, I immediately went and got my friend who can barely see because his eyes are so bad and came back to try and get in."

The lines started forming hours before the humanitarian civic action site opened its doors for medical and dental care to the residents of Kinshasa. Residents that had tickets were registered in advance, ensuring they would be seen on a certain date. Even though some residents did not have tickets, like Mutuala, medical providers saw them.

"Unfortunately there is a much bigger demand then what we have assets for," said Major Curt Kroh of Washburn, North Dakota, a physician assistant with the North Dakota National Guard's 814th Army Support Medical Company based in Bismarck. "However, we stayed until we ran out of time and material."

Kroh is part of MEDFLAG 10, a joint medical exercise that allows U.S. military medical personnel and Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to work side by side while providing humanitarian assistance to Kinshasa residents. Over a four-day period, FARDC and U.S. medical personnel provided assistance to approximately 2,000 residents.

Residents were treated for various illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to malaria. The most common problem seen was residents with eye problems, because they have never been examined, said Kroh. In addition to medical attention, dentists provided care ranging from basic oral hygiene to tooth extraction.

FARDC and U.S. medical personnel roughly totaled 25 medical and dental providers, with an additional 50 as support staff.

"The bulk of the medical care that was provided in the exam rooms were by FARDC doctors," said Kroh. "The FARDC doctors are very well involved in the treatment of the local population."

While all residents could not be seen and all problems could not be treated, residents were entered into the medical system and given referral letters for follow-up care.

See related story: U.S. Service Members Exchange Medical Techniques with Congolese Counterparts
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