U.S. forces conduct a cooperative health engagement in Thailand

by Marine Cpl. Justin Huffty
Health.mil

Kingdom of Thailand — U.S. service members shared their medical expertise during a cooperative health engagement at the Watsomboonnaram School in support of Cobra Gold 2018 in Rayong province, Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 16, 2018.

Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand and runs from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.

A CHE provides an opportunity for service members to provide the local community with basic medical, dental and optometry care.

"We talked a little bit about public health and the importance of it in their community,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Shawn Ricklefs with the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. “We talked a little about some of the vector born type of concerns that they have… within the community itself that may impact them here in such a close setting."

Ricklefs, along with two other U.S. service members, talked with the children that attend the school and their parents on several hygiene topics that ranged from how to properly wash your hands to how to floss your teeth.

"It is a tiny thing but important in daily life," said Usa Pimpapan, the Watsomboonnaram School nurse. "We need to be healthy just to avoid any kind of disease."

Children were ecstatic to receive new dental hygiene kits that included a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

"They don’t have a chance to learn something like this," said Pimpapan. "They had fun and appreciate the gifts."

"We find out that when we actually do the public health for the kids and we actually teach them about food safety and water safety," said Ricklefs, "that they actually end up educating the parents."

When someone is taught healthy habits as a young child, said Ricklefs, then they will take those habits into adulthood.

"I thought they were very good," said Ricklefs, "They were very engaged and I thought they were no different than American kids that we deal with everyday."

Through CG18, service members are provided the opportunity to conduct CHEs and support the needs and humanitarian interests of the civilian populations around the regions of the Thailand.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

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