Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marines and Sailors provide aid in the Maldives

Photo and Story by Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar

THE MALDIVES (Feb. 24)—Marines and Sailors from USS New Orleans (LPD-18), USS Comstock (LHD-45) with elements from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group spent Feb. 19-24 in the Maldives to provide medical supplies and information and training in order to aid the Maldivian people.

U.S. Navy medical staff gave multiple basic Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation classes to the community members and two medical officers utilized rooms in the hospitals to see patients for basic medical care.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Cyrena L. Williams with USS Comstock, taught classes which enabled more than 80 people the ability to perform CPR.
“My goal was to teach basic first aid and CPR general knowledge to the people,” said the Livermore, Calif. native.

The students were delighted to have the medical team there--they asked many questions and everyone participated in the practical applications, said Williams.

Navy Lt. Martin W. Lunceford, the battalion surgeon for Battalion Landing Team 1/1, was one of the volunteering medical officers who saw patients.

Doctors saw men, women and children from the ages of four to 89 and were able to prescribe medicines and treatments to more than 100 community members, said Lunceford.

“The people are very warm and excited. I feel like a celebrity,” said Lunceford.

Mr. Faisal Ibrahim, the manager of five health centers in the Maldives, is extremely pleased with the Navy medical staff as well as the Marines who supported the event.

The medical staff also donated five adult and two infant CPR mannequins, guides and study materials, and eight medical books to add to their library.

“We are very happy with the donations; we would not have been able to get those items on our own,” said Ibrahim.

Experiences such as these can be incredibly rewarding for service members who participate and provide unique benefits to community members in the Maldives.

“This is the highlight of my career,” said Lunceford.

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