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Cablegate: Iraqi Army - with Coalition Help - Conducts

VZCZCXRO0296
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3553 2991216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261216Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4046
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0056

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003553

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PINS SOCI AS IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQI ARMY - WITH COALITION HELP - CONDUCTS
FIRST-EVER MEDCAP IN MUTHANNA


1. (U) This is a PRT Muthanna message.

2. (U) SUMMARY. The Iraqi Army - with Coalition help - on
October 21 treated over 1,000 men, women, and children in its
first-ever medical civic action program in the southern Iraqi
province of Muthanna. The local brigade commander has
publicly taken ownership of the concept, and plans a campaign
throughout the entire province. We will work closely with
our Iraqi counterparts to help them institutionalize the
program, which will solidify support for the Iraqi army and
state among the citizens of Muthanna. END SUMMARY.

"OUR ARMY HELPING US"
---------------------

3. (U) Under the slogan "Our Army Helping Us," the Iraqi
Army on October 21 conducted its first-ever medical civic
action program (MEDCAP) in the province of Muthanna. This
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) sponsored initiative
served the population of Albu Ewhaid, a poor rural village in
the north center of the province. Helped by doctors and
medics from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne
(1/82 BCT) and the Australian Overwatch Battle Group, the 2nd
Brigade of the Iraqi Army's 10th Division treated over 1,000
men, women, and children, many of whom were seeing a doctor
for the first time. Through PRT efforts, a Ministry of
Health mobile clinic and ambulance were on hand to treat
longer-term care patients.

"BRINGING SMILES TO THE FACES OF CHILDREN"
------------------------------------------

4. (U) Deputy Governor Riyadh Majeed al-Dhu'anyi accompanied
2nd Brigade Commander Brigadier General Salam Jabar in a tour
of the MEDCAP, which took place in the village's elementary
school. Speaking with the 1/82 BCT's brigade surgeon as he
was treating patients, Deputy Governor Riyadh expressed his
effusive thanks for Coalition support. "You are bringing
smiles to the faces of our children," Riyadh said.

5. (U) The Deputy Governor reiterated his thanks for U.S.
and Australian support in later comments to local television
and print journalists. Brigadier General Salam expressed his
appreciation for coalition support as well. He took
ownership of the MEDCAP concept, telling the press that "the
Iraqi Army has two missions: reconstruction and security;
this medical mission is part of our reconstruction efforts to
help the Iraqi people." Salam added that he hoped to begin a
"campaign" of MEDCAPs throughout the province.

6. (U) An Australian Nursing Officer noted that majority of
the cases he saw consisted of women in a state of chronic
dehydration. Hard labor in the fields coupled with the lack
of clean drinking water meant that many women only consumed
two liters of water per day, far less than what they needed
in the hot climate of southern Iraq.

MENTORING PRODUCES RESULTS
--------------------------

7. (U) The Overwatch battle group had provided its Iraqi
counterparts training on perimeter security measures prior to
the event. The Iraqi soldiers performed professionally.
"They're real champs," one Australian officer commented, "I
couldn't have asked for anything more."

8. (U) 1/82 BCT and Australian doctors and medics mentored
the Iraqi medical staff throughout the day on screening and
treating the stream of patients. One Iraqi medic commented
that he had learned from a 1/82 BCT doctor how to better
prescribe medicine to meet patient needs. Iraqi officers
uniformly expressed gratitude for the medicine that the
1/82nd and PRT had provided to support their effort.

COMMENT
-------

9. (SBU) The October 21 MEDCAP was a resounding success. In
addition to treating a community in need, we persuaded the
local command of the Iraqi Army to conduct and take ownership
of a MEDCAP. Our goal now is to help them institutionalQe
this important civil-military operation, which will solidify
support for the Iraqi Army and state throughout the province.
From the population sample treated, clearly the need for
clean water is paramount. We are already focusing quick
response funds on this area.
BUTENIS

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