Friday, February 27, 2009

Exercise Coconut Grove wrap-up

The following is a press release from the US Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka about our time in the Maldives.
Embassy of the United States of America



U.S. Medical and Military Teams Work Together with Maldivian Counterparts to Enhance Skills and Goodwill

Colombo, February 27, 2009: - A team of United States Navy and Marine medical professionals, working with colleagues in the Maldivian public health care system and armed forces, completed a medical and dental assistance mission from February 20 to 23 that benefited residents of Naifaru, Lavivani Atoll.

This medical outreach initiative in Maldives by the Thirteenth U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) is the latest in a series of ship visits by U.S. forces intended to strengthen bilateral ties and foster goodwill between the United States and the Republic of Maldives.

The American group worked side-by-side with Maldivian medical personnel to augment local health care systems. Over five days the medical teams treated 268 medical patients, conducting examinations, giving vaccinations, and providing classes on emergency medical procedures. The dental team assisted a total of 400 patients with extractions of non-viable teeth, as well as training staff and giving presentations on dental hygiene to local students. Visitors received toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss as encouragement to continue healthy dental hygiene.

On February 19 and 20, a team of U.S. military personnel delivered donations of educational and recreational supplies to 41 children with special needs at the Care Society Child Development Center in Male’ and to 42 children at the Neglected Children’s Home in Vilingili. Gifts included children’s books, pens and pencils, writing pads, and assorted toys.

In addition to the medical assistance and community outreach, U.S. forces from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF) conducted joint exercises to develop professional skills and interoperability on Addoo Atoll. Training included classes in the U.S. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, a Combat Lifesaver Course given by U.S. Navy corpsmen, and MNDF members teaching U.S. Marines jungle survival skills.

During the scheduled training events, MNDF, U.S. Marine and U.S. Navy personnel were called on to assist in a real-world medical evacuation when a local man who suffered a severe head injury in a traffic accident required emergency transportation. The man was in a life-and-death situation due to limited local medical facilities and the distance he would have to travel by boat to receive appropriate care.

“The call came in and we wanted to do everything in our power to ensure this man did not die because of something we were unable to do,” said a U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson.

Thanks to the quick reaction and immediate planning efforts by joint MNDF-U.S. Military teams, U.S. Marine helicopters were able to transport the victim to hospital in Male’ within two hours of the initial request.

The United States hopes to continue these bilateral training and medical support opportunities in various Maldives locations in future.

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