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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AFP and JSOTF-P Teams Treat Hundreds of Patients at MEDCAP

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs

TAWI TAWI, Philippines – More than 400 patients were given free medical care through the cooperative efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) who teamed up to perform a Medical Action Project (MEDCAP) in the Languyan municipality Nov. 21.

“The MEDCAP is a great opportunity for us to help people here,” said AFP Marine Lt. Col. Jonas Lumawag, commander, Marine Battalion Landing Team-Two. “This will contribute to peace, progress and development for not just Languyan, but for other areas as well.”

A first in the area, the MEDCAP provided patients with much-needed services, including 73 dental extractions, 21 circumcisions, and four patients received wheelchairs. JSOTF-P’s chaplain team delivered 14 boxes of clothing and books, donated from U.S. charities and churches.

AFP’s Naval Task Force 62 and JSOTF-P’s Civic Action Team (CAT) 731, 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) (headquartered in Fort Bragg, NC) planned the event.

The task forces brought together many assets to conduct the MEDCAP. A dentist from Western Mindanao Command provided assistance, as well as volunteers from the Tawi Tawi Integrated Provincial Health Office and Local Government Units.

“The AFP really spearheaded us coming Languyan. They did a great job putting this together. We are really just here to support them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeb Taylor, the CAT 731team sergeant.

The event took place at the Languyan municipal hospital, where hospital staff assisted patients and helped distribute prescriptions, toiletry and school supplies. JSOTF-P also donated prescription medications, and kept the children busy with games and sporting events while waiting for services.

As medical care is limited in Languyan, JSOTF-P made copies of 10 handbooks, titled, “Where there is no doctor, a village health care handbook.” The book contains hundreds of home remedies for people who may not have access to formalized health care.

“We work so well with the JSOTF-P teams and are really looking forward to more of these partnerships,” said Lumawag.

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