Niger, U.S. doctors treat 550 patients in Ouallam

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Longoria
  • 435 Air Expeditionary Wing

Nigerien and U.S. doctors alongside U.S. joint service medical specialists established a temporary field clinic to provide medical treatment to citizens of Ouallam and the surrounding areas as a part of a medical civic action program (MEDCAP) in Ouallam, Niger, March 16, 2022. Together the teams treated approximately 550 patients, ranging from babies to the elderly.

“Thank you very much for coming and for everything you all did,” said Nigerien Armed Forces Col. Samimou, assistant to the general. “This (MEDCAP) was something we really needed… we accomplished a lot!”

This joint medical operation, led by the Nigerien government and hosted by U.S. and Nigerien military medical personnel, increased cultural awareness, strengthened relationships, and helped U.S. service members understand problems local villagers face. Through diplomacy and development, this whole-of-government approach is critical to enabling a more secure and prosperous Niger.

“It feels really good to be here,” said a U.S. Army Special Operations Forces emergency physician. “I think it’s important for the U.S. military to not only project strength and perform in various theaters but to show support to the Nigerien government and the civilian population. Being able to come out here to support MEDCAPs fulfills an important aspect of what we are doing in Niger.”

U.S. forces brought emergency physicians, general physicians, a dentist, physical therapist, optometrist, orthopedist, and gynecologist to assist the Nigerien medical team. The U.S. also provided medical supplies which enhanced partner capacity for patient treatment.

“We have a wide-range of experts from medics to physicians, who are able to evaluate patients and recommend them to a local specialist,” said the special operations emergency physician. “We are also able to perform basic procedures if needed and can transport patients to local hospitals for emergencies.”

The MEDCAP provided an opportunity for the U.S. Civil-Military Support Element to train the Nigerien action civil military team on civil affairs operations and humanitarian assistance, while enhancing their relationship with the local community.

“This will show the local populace that we are here to help, not just fight,” said Col. Samimou. “I hope this happens again.”