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NEWS | Aug. 16, 2023

U.S. Civil Affairs, Navy SEALs Host Medical Civic Action Program in the Philippines

By Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Gaither, Naval Special Warfare Group ONE

Members of a Naval Special Warfare (NSW) unit and the U.S. Army Civil Affairs hosted a medical civic action program (MEDCAP) with the local government of El Nido in Palawan, Philippines, from July 29-30, 2023. The team worked with medical professionals from local hospitals, the provincial health unit, the Palawan dental chapter, and local volunteers to serve hundreds of patients in various medical and dental services.

According to the NSW lead planner and medic, the MEDCAP took approximately eight months to organize.

“The Barangays, Tagalog for village or district, of Manlag and San Fernando were recommended by the local government due to their relatively large population and limited access to care,” said Army Staff Sgt. Lyndon Wright, the Civil Affairs Philippines Medical Sergeant.

The MEDCAP allowed local nationals to receive various medical and dental care. Patients could also receive diagnoses for illnesses they could have missed by not seeing a doctor, ultimately improving the health of the community’s most vulnerable people.

The event also provided an opportunity to facilitate cultural exchanges and strengthen relationships with the Philippines and the U.S.

“We were able to provide medical aid and resources to the rural local populace, as well as build trust and rapport among the local government and people of El Nido Province,” said a U.S. Naval Special Warfare operator.

El Nido’s Mayor, Hon. Edna Gacot-Lim, recognized the U.S. Embassy and the Civil Affairs team for their help in organizing the MEDCAP in a post on social media, thanking the U.S. Embassy for choosing El Nido to conduct this mission, and hopes to do again in the future. The post also described the number of medical services provided and recognized the municipal offices and local medical professionals involved.

The NSW members and Civil Affairs team assisted medical professionals with providing medical consultations, dental education and extractions, minor surgery, and pharmaceutical distribution. Over 1,650 medical services were provided during the two-day MEDCAP. They provided medical supplies, including fluoride, dental kits, prescription medication, and more.

Uniformed personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard, 23rd Marine Company, Joint Task Force Malampaya, and local and national police assisted the MEDCAP by serving as marshals and organizers throughout the event.

“This event highlights the effects that a strong U.S.- Philippine partnership can have even at the local level and creates a pathway for future collaboration,” said Wright.

U.S. Naval Special Warfare is the nation’s elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the fleet’s reach. Integral to this capability is a forward-deployed posture and continuous engagement with partner and ally forces, heightening mutual interoperability and regional expertise.

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