Special Operations Forces Provide Medical Care to Kenyan Villagers

Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Tony DeFilippo / NSWG-2

Kenya medical seminar

(KIANGWE, Kenya) A man kisses his son while waiting for him to be seen by medical personnel from Safari Doctors during a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, on Dec. 6, 2015. Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa, Team Manda Bay is conducting the MEDSEM along with the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors to provide medical services to remote villages in the area and engage with village leaders to address their concerns. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)
(MANDA BAY, Kenya) Service members from Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa, Team Manda Bay, Kenya, participated in a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, to provide medical services to Kiangwe villagers on Dec. 6.

Team Manda Bay personnel were also joined by members of the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors, a nonprofit organization that focuses on delivering healthcare services to remote areas of Lamu County.

Kenya medical seminar
(KIANGWE, Kenya) A medical officer from Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa, Team Manda Bay checks a villager’s vision during a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, on Dec. 6, 2015. Team Manda Bay is conducting the MEDSEM along with the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors to provide medical services to remote villages in the area and engage with village leaders to address their concerns. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)

“We’re out here as part of our continuing partnership with the Kenyans,” said a Team Manda Bay service member. “Medical care is something that comes up a lot in our conversations with local leaders, so we coordinated with the county government and Safari Docs to put this together.”

Medical personnel treated more than 200 villagers, including 87 children who received polio vaccinations, which were provided by the Lamu County Ministry of Health. Team Manda Bay also helped provide security for the MEDSEM along with members of the Kenyan Maritime Police.

Kenya Medical Seminar
(KIANGWE, Kenya) Kalo Harrison, from Safari Doctors, administers a polio vaccination to a child during a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, on Dec. 6, 2015. Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa, Team Manda Bay is conducting the MEDSEM along with the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors to provide medical services to remote villages in the area and engage with village leaders to address their concerns. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)

“Everything we do is always in an advise and assist role with the Kenyans taking the lead,” said a Team Manda Bay service member. “We train them. We provide them with whatever assistance we can, but at the end of the day we won’t be here forever, so the goal is for them to be able to operate without us.”

The MEDSEM also provided Team Manda Bay with an opportunity to talk to village leaders about their concerns and identify ways that Team Manda Bay can continue to help them.

Kenya medical seminar
(KIANGWE, Kenya) Children wait to be seen by medical personnel from Safari Doctors during a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, on Dec. 6, 2015. Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa, Team Manda Bay is conducting the MEDSEM along with the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors to provide medical services to remote villages in the area and engage with village leaders to address their concerns. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)

“I think today went really well,” said a Team Manda Bay service member. “We were able to treat a lot of people, and we had some good conversations with the Kenyans about how we can continue to help. It feels really good to be a part of something like this.”

Team Manda Bay plans to participate in at least two more MEDSEMs in the near future as part of their ongoing partnership with the Lamu County government and the Kenyan Defense Force.

Kenya medical seminar
(KIANGWE, Kenya) A member of the Kenyan Maritime Police stands guard outside a medical seminar (MEDSEM) in Kiangwe, Kenya, on Dec. 6, 2015. Special Operations Command – East Africa, Team Manda Bay is conducting the MEDSEM along with the Lamu County Ministry of Health and Safari Doctors to provide medical services to remote villages in the area and engage with village leaders to address their concerns. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)
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