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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Djibouti- Army Civil Affairs provides dental care, education to local village

By DeCook, Daniel R. TSgt
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa
Djibouti, February 13, 2016The 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, worked alongside Djibouti Ministry of Health personnel to provide dental care to villagers and share dental education in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti,


Funded by U.S. Africa Command’s humanitarian civil assistance program, the dental civic action program(DENTCAP), aims to provide emergency dental procedures, basic extractions and dental education.

Capt. Bryan Hays, 403rd CA BA Dental Cell Officer in Charge, and Staff Sgt. Nakisha Susberry, 403rd CA BN Dental Cell NCO in charge, saw more than 45 patients, treating everything from minor tooth pain to severe infection.

Without the DENTCAP team, many of the residents of Ali Sabieh may never receive dental care.

“We really appreciate the American team who came here to make everything we need here easier. It was good for them to be here; we needed the help,” said Abdirahman Guelleh, Djibouti Ministry of Health.

The team spent 10 hours treating patients, extracting more than 50 teeth. They also understood the need to educate the children of the community on oral hygiene.

As local children gathered around an oversized denture model, Col. Mitch Meyers, Preventive Medicine Officer, gave a class on the proper techniques for brushing, flossing and rinsing.

“Whether it’s here or Soldiers back home, without proper oral hygiene you run a high risk for dental infections,” said Hays. “Many of our patients came in with severe pain, and we believe that educating them on proper preventative measures can help in the future.”

The long day of work not only provided the community an opportunity to receive critical dental care and education, it also gave the civil affairs team a strong sense of accomplishment.

“For me it’s been great just to see this environment and to work with the people of Djibouti,” said Hays. “I’m pretty beat, my back is worn out, but I am so pleased with what we did here. It’s very fulfilling to know we did a lot of good for this community.”