Afghan National Army provides medical care to populace

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Combined Joint Task Force 101

PAKTIYA, Afghanistan (April 29, 2011) – Afghan National Army medical personnel, in conjunction with their coalition forces partners, diagnosed and treated a wide variety of eye problems at the Gardez City Orphanage compound, April 26.

Doctors examined 77 orphans and local Afghans at no cost to the patients.

ANA Capt. Haarwn Amin, an optometrist, said he was proud to improve the lives of the people he treated.

An estimated 1.6 million orphans live in Afghanistan. The orphanage in Gardez houses 100-200 children who have lost at least one parent.

Some of the children would be blind without glasses said U.S. Army Capt. Benjamin Uhl, an optometrist from Sioux City, Iowa, with the 591st Medical Logistics Unit.

“Now I can see the people walking around me and find my way around at night,” said one Afghan man who received a new pair of glasses.

The glasses came from Lions Clubs International, which donated approximately 1,200 pairs.

In addition to optometry, Afghans also had booths set up for dentistry, primary care and drug distribution.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Donna Laulo, Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team physician assistant from Puyalup, Wash., said medical outreach missions like this help Afghan soldiers provide medical care without reliance on coalition forces.

She added that the ANA is increasing their capacity to treat local patients and more patients are going to Afghan, rather than U.S., medical facilities.

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