KABANI, Iraq --
A pair of scissors and a snipped ribbon ushered in a new day for medical treatment here Dec. 20.
The new Kabani Medical Clinic provides a venue for future medical engagements and Iraqi doctors to treat Kabani’s population.
“It’s a wonderful facility with the potential for being used to provide care,” said Navy Lt. Scott N. Margraf, medical officer, Security Force, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “We’ve done something with positive intentions to do good for a local population, the key to this whole operation out here.”
Margraf, 42, Sasebo, Japan, said building relationships with local people is just as much a key to counterinsurgency as eliminating the enemy. Unlocking the hearts and minds of the people closes the doors to insurgent propaganda and recruiting techniques.
Engaging with the populace is critically important to mission accomplishment in Iraq, said Margraf. The clinic is just one step toward that goal.
Kabani, a small village just east of Camp Taqaddum, used to host civil affairs engagements and visits from their own Iraqi medical practitioners in whatever structures they had available. Through a combination of diplomatic action from Iraqi and Coalition Forces, the village now has a necessary venue for health care.
“It gives them a place in which a medical provider can render services, which they didn’t have before,” said Cmdr. Deana J. Miller, family practitioner, Taqaddum Surgical, 1st Maintenance Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st MLG.
Miller and Margraf also teamed up with two Iraqi Army medics to conduct a combined medical engagement. The presence of internal Iraqi medics is the next goal, said Miller.
“The next step is getting an Iraqi physician to stay in that town, or who might be assigned to several little towns, so that one day he goes to one clinic and another clinic the next,” said Miller, 41, Temecula, Calif. “How (Iraq’s) Ministry of Health is going to decide how to do that is up to the Iraqis.”
Miller said bringing in the Iraqi medics is the start of such a system. Putting an Iraqi face on the engagement accomplishes other goals as well.
“Because we had the Iraqi medics there, people from the health care system themselves, what it does is it puts more trust in their medical system,” said Miller. “(The Iraqi people) need to understand and respect their own system, and think it’s actually improving, when it does that, the (combined medical engagement) is actually successful.”
The CME was one of many the 1st MLG has performed since taking over for 2nd MLG in February of this year. The new clinic in Kabani marks the first of many recent steps toward improvements of Iraqi infrastructure.
“It builds the ability for them to support each other,” said Sgt. Maj. Steven Lara, 42, Coolidge, Az., sergeant major, 1st MLG. “(The new clinic) gives them an opportunity to live a more normal life … and the population of the town is growing because of the support they receive.”