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MEDFLAG 08 Provides Medical Attention to Malian Villages
Hundreds of Malians waited in line in a village near Bamako, Mali to see doctors with the MEDFLAG team, July 24, 2008. <br /> <br />The village of Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach
BAMAKO, Mali - Optometrist Lieutenant Colonel David Peterson, U.S. Air Force, examines a patient&#39;s eyes at a village clinic during MEDFLAG 08, July 22, 2008. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 4: BAMAKO, Mali - Optometrist Lieutenant Colonel David Peterson, U.S. Air Force, examines a patient's eyes at a village clinic during MEDFLAG 08, July 22, 2008. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus) Download full-resolution version
BAMAKO, Mali - A Malian mother and her daughter wait in line to be seen by a doctor at a clinic in the village of Droit July 22, 2008. Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 4: BAMAKO, Mali - A Malian mother and her daughter wait in line to be seen by a doctor at a clinic in the village of Droit July 22, 2008. Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver) Download full-resolution version
BAMAKO, Mali - Master Sergeant Daniel McCain, U.S. Air Force, explains instructions to a local Malian on how to take medication in the village of Droit during a humanitarian clinic July 22, 2008. The village of Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG 08 team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 4: BAMAKO, Mali - Master Sergeant Daniel McCain, U.S. Air Force, explains instructions to a local Malian on how to take medication in the village of Droit during a humanitarian clinic July 22, 2008. The village of Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG 08 team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus) Download full-resolution version
BAMAKO, Mali - Pediatrician Major Mark Reiker, U.S. Air Force, takes vital signs at a village clinic during multi-national medical exercise called MEDFLAG, July 22, 2008. As part of the exercise, medical personnel traveled to four villages near Bamako to provide free clinics for the local population.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 4 of 4: BAMAKO, Mali - Pediatrician Major Mark Reiker, U.S. Air Force, takes vital signs at a village clinic during multi-national medical exercise called MEDFLAG, July 22, 2008. As part of the exercise, medical personnel traveled to four villages near Bamako to provide free clinics for the local population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus) Download full-resolution version
BAMAKO, Mali - Optometrist Lieutenant Colonel David Peterson, U.S. Air Force, examines a patient&#39;s eyes at a village clinic during MEDFLAG 08, July 22, 2008. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
BAMAKO, Mali - A Malian mother and her daughter wait in line to be seen by a doctor at a clinic in the village of Droit July 22, 2008. Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Weaver)
BAMAKO, Mali - Master Sergeant Daniel McCain, U.S. Air Force, explains instructions to a local Malian on how to take medication in the village of Droit during a humanitarian clinic July 22, 2008. The village of Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG 08 team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits. More than 90 service members deployed to Mali for MEDFLAG 08, a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
BAMAKO, Mali - Pediatrician Major Mark Reiker, U.S. Air Force, takes vital signs at a village clinic during multi-national medical exercise called MEDFLAG, July 22, 2008. As part of the exercise, medical personnel traveled to four villages near Bamako to provide free clinics for the local population.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Dorus)
Hundreds of Malians waited in line in a village near Bamako, Mali to see doctors with the MEDFLAG team, July 24, 2008.

The village of Droit was one of four villages the MEDFLAG team visited during a series of humanitarian outreach visits.

MEDFLAG is a multi-national medical training exercise designed to enhance medical capabilities and readiness for U.S. and African forces. During the exercise, more than 90 U.S. and African service members reviewed medical information, exchanged information, and administered treatment to local communities.

The pouring rain in Droit that day did not stop residents from standing in the long line at the clinic. One woman, Fatoumata, waited with her son, Daoda, hoping to find out the reason for Daouda's weight loss. Fatoumata, like many Malians in the area, lacks the money and means to see a doctor and relies on humanitarian outreach visits for exams and treatment.

"Because most Malians can't afford to go to a doctor, they try and use traditional medicines," said Malian Doctor, Lieutenant Alhassana Ba. "They try different herbs, plants, trees or homemade medicine to cure their problem. If that doesn't work, and if they can't find the money to go to a doctor, they will usually die."

After signing in at the clinic, patients were triaged and their vital signs were taken. Malaria, intestinal worms, infections and minor injuries were the most common problems.

"When a patient showed symptoms of Malaria, we would give them a quick blood test to rule out whether or not they actually had Malaria," said Major William Reynolds, MEDFLAG 08 chief nurse. "If they did have Malaria, then we would prescribe anti-malaria medicine for them."

Once a patient's vital signs were taken, they would be escorted to a doctor, dentist, optometrist or dermatologist, depending on their problem.

For Reynolds and the rest of the medical team, the language barrier was one of the biggest obstacles.

"French and the tribal language Bambara are what most Malians speak here, but some of our patients didn't know either," said Reynolds. "We had translators help us communicate with the patients, but sometimes we had to get creative to understand each other."

Once a patient received their diagnosis, they were taken to the classroom-turned-pharmacy to pick-up their medicine and multi-vitamins. In anticipation of helping so many people, the pharmacy staff spent the previous week sorting through more than 30,000 pills--$100,000 worth of medicine.

As Fatoumata picked up the much-needed medicine for her son, she praised the work of the doctors.

"If it weren't for these doctors helping us today, I don't know what would have happened to my baby. Everyone here really appreciates the actions of these doctors."

Doctors, nurses, medical technicians and volunteers are expected to treat an estimated 3,800 patients in the Bamako region during the MEDFLAG exercise.
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