USAFE medics return from Zambia

Capt. Jennifer Lovett
USAFE News Service

***image1***Medics from U.S. Air Forces in Europe units recently returned from a week of examining eyes and teeth in Zambia as a part of USAFE’s first military-to-military medical capabilities initiative in that part of the world.
The team of five examined more than 1,200 patients and conducted training and outreach over six days.

“The access to medical supplies from South Africa and the positive relationships with the local military make it an ideal spot for medical exercises,” said Maj. Vince Gill, USAFE Surgeon General’s office.
There is a humanitarian crisis in Zambia due to the high HIV infection rates with over 16 percent of the total population infected.

“But by teaming with the Zambian Ministries of Health and Defense as well as the local non-governmental organizations, we could make a huge positive and life-saving contribution,” said Major Gill.

Visiting local healthcare facilities including the Maino Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, the medics developed lasting relationships.
“This is the first time military medical services from our two countries have worked together,” said the Maina Soko Hospital commander. “I like it.”
 The team conducted 386 eye exams and 198 dental exams and passed out 596 hygiene kits.

“The mission was a great mix of exchange, professional training and caring for those in need.
Memories to last a lifetime – seeing the smiles on the children who finally have the chance to get their painful teeth removed and those who can “see” for the first time with their new glasses,” said Lt. Col. Parker Plante, team leader deployed from Ramstein’s 435th Medical Group.