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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

Kirkuk hospital, clinics receive medical aid

By Sgt. Tony White
5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

An Iraqi man unpacks medical supplies at Kirkuk General Hospital. The supplies, delivered by coalition forces, will be distributed to hospitals and clinics in the Kirkuk area. An Iraqi pharmacist said past shortages forced the hospital to rely on the black market for supplies.

5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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KIRKUK, Iraq Coalition forces delivered medical supplies and equipment including supplies from the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks to the Kirkuk General Hospital on Nov. 12.

The supplies will be distributed among the hospital and clinics in the Kirkuk area. Medical supplies in shortage, such as intravenous bags and burn blankets, were supplied by civil affairs soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division.

"God willing, these supplies will be helpful," said Ahmed Karman, an Iraqi pharmacist working in the medical warehouse at the Kirkuk General Hospital. "In the past, we were forced to rely on the black market for medical supplies."

Under normal situations the hospital and the clinics receive medical supplies from the Ministry of Health and the Red Cross, the pharmacist said. "Most of our supplies come from Baghdad or Mosul," he said. "But everything depends on our ability to get to and from the cities. When there are transportation problems, there are shortages."

The soldiers brought the warehouse burn blankets, bandages, needle disposal containers, IVs and accessories.

"Previously we have worked with individual clinics," said Maj. Paul Beekman, Company C, 402nd Civil Affairs team leader. "But this was the first time we have dropped off medical supplies to the hospital's warehouse. We are planning one more drop-off because we have more to give to them."

After taking a look inside, Beekman said the warehouse looked relatively barren.

"I think this drop-off will have a huge impact on the hospital and the clinics," he said. "They have things like gauze and needles, but things like those are only intended to be used one time. Still (the Iraqi hospital and clinics) are very thankful for any supplies we can get them."