USAFE medics treat Ghanaians for Navy study

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer Lovett
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs
A team of six U.S. Air Forces in Europe medics worked side by side with Ghanaian military doctors and saw 250 patients in seven hours April 10 in the jungle village of Taviefe, Ghana.

The medics are in Ghana for a weeklong joint medical mission providing care to locals on Lake Volta as part of a Navy leishmaniasis study, which is a study of several infectious diseases. 

Capt. Aaron Johnson, a dentist from Lajes Field, Portugal, treated more than 20 patients who needed to have teeth pulled.

"I didn't see as many (patients) as I thought I would," he said. "But working in the bare conditions wasn't as hard as I thought either. Tomorrow should be easier."

The sunlight stopped work 10 minutes before the clinic lost its electricity due to the mandated energy-share program the region employs to conserve resources.

"For the first day, I'm pretty happy with the results," said Capt. Paul Puchta, a general surgeon from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The optometry section saw nearly 90 percent of the patients, said Col. Paul Young, the team leader from Ramstein AB. At least 80 percent of the patients walked away with adaptable eyewear, an invention that uses silicon and air to refract the lenses convexly or concavely and provides eyesight up to a negative six prescription.

Patients filled the makeshift waiting area that resembled a covered garage before 8 a.m., and were seen after work centers, treatment rooms and a pharmacy were established and organized. Almost everyone who showed up was seen by a doctor, and anyone who made it through triage but was unable to be seen due to the light was asked to return the next day.

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