Col. Ryan Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb., deputy commanding officer for the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, gives a young boy a soccer ball March 4 in Jisr Diyala.
FOB Hammer, Iraq, Thursday, 06 March 2008 00:00
Col. Ryan Kuhn, deputy commanding officer of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, met with Hussein Gazi Zaydan, head of dentistry for the Mada’in Qada, March 4 in a hospital in Jisr Diyala.
Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb., and Zaydan discussed ways to increase awareness of improved security in the Mada’in Qada, the 3rd HBCT’s area of operation, to attract new dentists and medical professionals.
“The Mada’in Qada is secure now and we need to get the message out,” Zaydan said.
Kuhn believes raising awareness of a safer Mada’in Qada will not only bring more dentists to the area, but more medical professionals in general.
“People who don’t know about the conditions are afraid to come out,” Kuhn said. “We need to get them out here to see the good citizens and see that it is safe. Security has improved to heights they would have never thought possible.”
There are about 500 dentists who graduate from the Baghdad University school of dentistry each year. Of those graduates, very few volunteer to work in cities within the qada, Zaydan said. One problem, he said, is distance. Dentists travel from Baghdad, more than 20 miles from the qada.
Kuhn said the dentists who do work in the qada open their offices two days a week and see about 30 patients. Kuhn suggested finding permanent houses for dentists within the cities they work.
“If they live in the area and work there, they will build relationships with the citizens and they will decide to stay,” he said.
Zaydan, who is from Baghdad but has lived in the Mada’in Qada for four years, has seen the improvement of security in the qada. His brother, also a dentist, volunteered to work in Hollandia.
Kuhn and Zaydan discussed solutions to get the message out to new graduates of the school of dentistry and other medical schools.
Kuhn suggested holding a medical conference and inviting new dentists and doctors to attend.
Zaydan agreed that a conference would be a good idea and said holding it in Baghdad would attract the most attendees.
Kuhn recommended Zaydan talk to the students; as a young dentist working in the area, he would reach the students more than a Coalition forces Soldier.
“We need more young people who are not narrow-minded and embrace all Iraqis,” Kuhn said.
Zaydan was passionate about the idea of getting Iraqi media directly involved in spreading the word about security.
Kuhn told him about the new radio station, “The Voice of the Mada’in” 107.1 FM, which was established Feb. 7 and broadcasts to the entire qada.
“We have people interviewed on the radio station,” Kuhn said. “Sometimes citizens call in and talk to the people who are on the radio. We could have doctors come on the radio and talk about how they can provide health aid to the people of the Mada’in.”
Another meeting, this time with the director general of health, has been set for the near future.
The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.