(Photo by Army Sgt. Mike Alberts) Lt. Col. Samuel Whitehurst (right), battalion commander, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, speaks with Dr. Othman Hassan Tofiq (left), public healthcare clinic director, Kirkuk District, and Dr. Emad Hussein Qader (second from left), clinic director, Hai Al Wasity Public Healthcare Clinic, in a dental examination room located within the Hai Al Wasity PHC, Kirkuk, Iraq, Aug. 23.
Government, Medical Pros, and Coalition Forces Partner to Provide Clinics
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AUGUST 25, 2007
By Press Release

Local government officials, medical professionals and Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the grand opening of the Hai Al Wasity Public Healthcare Clinic, Kirkuk, Iraq, Aug. 23.
The clinic is one of five new public healthcare clinics in Kirkuk that will provide immediate medical care for local citizens and help reduce patient inflow at Kirkuk General Hospital for minor injuries and ailments, according to Capt. Ryan Nacin, battalion fire support and assistant plans officer, 2-35. The clinic is located in the ethnically-mixed southwest portion of the city and contains 16 medical examination rooms, dental examination capability, an x-ray room, a laboratory and a pharmacy.
“Healthcare is the backbone of a city. For that reason, it’s critical that Kirkuk have sound public healthcare which includes public healthcare centers,” said Maj. Robert Oh, battalion surgeon, 2-35. “Hospitals are really for those citizens that are severely injured or ill,” emphasized Oh. “Community clinics like this one have the capacity to treat minor injuries and illnesses and things like infections. This particular facility includes an impressive women’s and children’s care center,” he said.
According to Oh, most of the existing medical care in Kirkuk is acute hospital care or private care. For that reason, public healthcare centers like the one in the Hai Al Wasity area fill a critical healthcare void. Oh’s battalion commander agreed.
“Our mission here is to help establish a secure and stable Kirkuk Province,” said Lt. Col. Samuel Whitehurst, battalion commander, 2-35. “Security means many things. [Mentoring, training and advising] the Iraqi Army and your local police is a component of security. But security also means improving the lives of all the citizens of Kirkuk,” said Whitehurst. “Every time coalition forces along with your provincial government open a school or a water project or a public health clinic like this one it marks another victory for the people of Kirkuk.”