Air Force Dentists Bring Relief to the Congo

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (AFNS)—A medical training exercise gave residents of the Congo, including the US embassy staff and families, an opportunity to receive dental care as part of Medical Flag 2010.

Three Air Force Reserve dentists treated about 35 patients while training in the DRC as part of MEDFLAG 10.

“It’s been about two years that I’ve been trying to get to the dentist,” said Kathryn Anne Crowder, a family member of an embassy worker in Kinshasa. “So this is a much needed visit.”

The annual joint medical training exercise allows US military service members to work side by side with their African counterparts. In addition to training, the joint forces also provide humanitarian and civic assistance to people seeking help.

“Working with the local population has given us the feeling we are reaching those who really need it,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jacqueline Garcia-Castellanos, a member of the 482nd Aeromedical Dental Squadron from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.

Both American and Congolese dental professionals spent several days in class reviewing the necessity of basic oral hygiene and preventive care before caring for Kinshasa residents.

Officials said the medical and dental staffs will assess roughly 2,000 cases and provide the necessary care to the Congolese citizens during a four-day period of the exercise.

“The experience has been quite enlightening,” Colonel Garcia-Castellanos said. “It has given us the opportunity to engage in active dental care side by side with the Congolese army dental corps and the exchange has been excellent.”

 



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