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Hundreds of Senegalese Receive Medical Care as Part of Exercise Western Accord
Hundreds of local residents lined up to receive medical care from U.S. forces and medics from Armed Forces of Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea and The Gambia outside the hospital, July 11, 2012.<br />
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Davis, a dentist with the Vermont Air National Guard removes a tooth from the mouth of a Senegalese woman in Thies, Senegal, July 11, 2012. Davis is participating in Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 3: THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Davis, a dentist with the Vermont Air National Guard removes a tooth from the mouth of a Senegalese woman in Thies, Senegal, July 11, 2012. Davis is participating in Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing) Download full-resolution version
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Army Captain Christopher Winner with the Vermont Army National Guard treats a Senegalese child in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Winner is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 3: THIES, Senegal - U.S. Army Captain Christopher Winner with the Vermont Army National Guard treats a Senegalese child in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Winner is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing) Download full-resolution version
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major Steven Trala, a critical care nurse with the Vermont Air National Guard, checks the blood pressure of a Senegalese patient in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Trala is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
3 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 3: THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major Steven Trala, a critical care nurse with the Vermont Air National Guard, checks the blood pressure of a Senegalese patient in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Trala is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing) Download full-resolution version
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Davis, a dentist with the Vermont Air National Guard removes a tooth from the mouth of a Senegalese woman in Thies, Senegal, July 11, 2012. Davis is participating in Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Army Captain Christopher Winner with the Vermont Army National Guard treats a Senegalese child in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Winner is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
THIES, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major Steven Trala, a critical care nurse with the Vermont Air National Guard, checks the blood pressure of a Senegalese patient in Thies, Senegal, July 12, 2012. Trala is working as part of a humanitarian civic assistance in conjunction with Western Accord 2012, a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese, several Western African nations and the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France. (Photo by Senior Airman Sarah Mattison, 158th Fighter Wing)
Hundreds of local residents lined up to receive medical care from U.S. forces and medics from Armed Forces of Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea and The Gambia outside the hospital, July 11, 2012.



From July 10 - July 17, U.S. forces will be working alongside partner African nations to provide humanitarian civil assistance in the area. On just the first day, which was only a half-day, the clinic treated more than 175 patients.



"It's a great opportunity," said Air Force Captain Jason Galipeau, the project officer with the 158th Fighter Wing located in South Burlington, Virginia. "It feels great. It is something that will stick with [the service members] through their whole career."



The medical care that the Senegalese are receiving is part of Exercise Western Accord -- a multi-lateral exercise with Senegalese and several Western African nations.



Thirty-two medical personnel came from all over the United States prepared to treat 3,000 patients in Senegal. Along with providing medical care, they came to provide and share their knowledge, as well as to help the Senegalese improve their own process.



"It's a pleasure to be here," said Air Force Captain Tracie Pilbin, a nurse with the 158th Fighter Wing. "The Senegalese are a very friendly people, and I think it's great we're able to be here and support their military and their civilians."



The physicians find that the Senegalese are mainly being treated for things such as diabetes, digestive issues and malaria. The U.S. is offering care in a triage and treat method, which involves an initial consultation with a doctor followed up by a trip to the dentist or a doctor to address specific needs.



Each U.S. physician is partnered with a medic from another nation with the understanding that they are only there to help.



"The medicine is good," said Sergeant Dembo Saidy, a pharmacist with the Gambian Army. "We have teamwork, we love and respect one another."



The goal is to help augment the care that the locals are already used to receiving with an emphasis on preventative medicine and to ensure medical sustainment after the U.S. personnel depart.



"The purpose is to build the capabilities they have now and to work side-by-side to enhance the procedures they already have so when we leave they can continue the procedures they are now," said Galipeau, a Charlotte, Virginia native.





The average life expectancy of a resident in Thies is in the mid-50s and the infant mortality rate is much higher than that of the United States, said Galipeau. The medics are stressing the use of preventative medicine, especially in children, to try and overcome these numbers.



The Americans learned much from the Senegalese medics on diseases such as malaria and other common problems such as tooth extractions, said Galipeau.



"We learn as much from them as they learn from us," he said.



The hospital expects to treat about 200 patients daily. Once they shut down for the day, patients who haven't been seen are sent home with a ticket guaranteeing them a spot at the front of the line the next day. After the U.S. forces depart, the patients continue to receive follow-up care.



"They may not have the supplies and equipment that we do here," said Galipeau, "but they're doing the best they can do with what they have. They save lives every day."



The medical care that's part of WA-12 focuses on various types of military training to include: live-fire training, peacekeeping operations, intelligence capacity building, command post, and disaster response training. The exercise is coordinated by U.S. Marine Forces Africa and runs from June 26 - July 24. More than 600 U.S. service members and approximately 600 members of the Armed Forces of Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gambia and France will participate.



Africa Command is committed to strengthening their relationship with their Senegalese and African partners. WA-12 will increase understanding of each other's capabilities and proficiencies, enhancing America and Africa's ability to operate together.



See also: Military Reservists Deploy to West Africa to Train with Regional Forces
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