CJTF-HOA Dedicates Pediatric Clinic
Members of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa joined Ugandan Ministry of Health personnel, municipality leaders and the people of the village of Kitgum to celebrate the dedication of a new pediatric clinic and a public library on September 23. A ceremony marked the completion of a cooperative effort to bring a pediatric ward to the people of Kitgum. Local elders spoke of the many benefits the new clinic will provide to the people of Kitgum and the surrounding region, increasing the medical capacity in the region.
Mr. Alfred Onony-Okara, Kitgum’s District Commissioner said, “The government of Uganda is aware that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation; ill health is a cause of poverty and conflict. I would therefore like to appreciate that the U.S. Army has risen above addressing armed conflict, by also addressing health…which I stated is a cause for conflict. Thank you again for this beautiful gift that will promote life and sharing among human kind.”
The $390,000 project included the construction of a three-wing building containing a maternity ward, delivery room, and a pediatric ward; previously the residents of Kitgum faced a 2-hour drive down an unimproved road (subject to severe flooding) to reach a medical facility. With the opening of the new facilities Kitgum residents can now receive treatment from a local facility for their children. In addition, the new Reading Room will serve as a professional development center, helping to increase the knowledge for the medical staff.
In a speech to the villagers of Kitgum, U.S. Navy Dr. Capt. Paul Kane, Command Surgeon for CJTF-HOA, stated this type of cooperation is exactly the goal of CJTF-HOA.
“Today we celebrate the completion of the Kitgum Hospital Pediatric Ward … it’s been our privilege and honor to work with the proud people of Kitgum and Uganda. The cooperation between our two countries has yielded similar projects, like this one, all over Uganda,” said Kane. “These new hospital additions will help your doctors treat and save thousands of lives … we look forward to continuing the partnership between our two governments and working with the proud people of Uganda.”
In addition to the clinic, members CJTF-HOA also dedicated a new $260,000 Public Library for the village of Kitgum. Mr. John Hoover, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, was on hand to preside over the dedication ceremony.
“The library here in Kitgum will stand as a symbol of our (U.S. and Uganda) enduring friendship, cooperation and partnership.” he said “This library will make an important contribution to your community, by helping all citizens of Kitgum to develop their minds; this new community resource will contribute to the economic and social development of Kitgum.”
Navy Lt. Trey Sicks, a native of Searcy, Ark., served as lead engineer for both construction projects. Based at the Strategic Systems Programs center in Crystal City, Va., Lt. Sicks is currently assigned to the CJTF-HOA, J-34 Engineers in Djibouti. He stated “These state-of-the-art facilities are vital to the relationship building efforts of CJTF-HOA and will go a long way towards changing negative perceptions about Americans in the region.”
During the ceremony, village elders and local leaders thanked the members of CJTF-HOA for all the work they have done in bringing healthcare and knowledge to the people, and said they hope that the friendships forged between the United States and Uganda continue.
The mission of CJTF-HOA is to conduct unified action with local military forces and government representatives in the eastern Africa to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and build regional security capacity.
U.S. Forces in Uganda are commanded by CJTF-HOA and are deployed from Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. The vision of CJTF-HOA is to build friendships, forge relationships and create partnerships while integrating diplomacy, development and defense efforts essential to ensuring success. With effective partnerships, the hope is that partner nations will see increased security, improved stability and strengthened sovereignty across the Horn of Africa.