PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA --
In an expeditionary environment, a big concern is the overall health of the general population.
The mission must always continue, and to stay healthy, personnel should follow procedures and guidelines.
The 378th Expeditionary Medical Squadron Public Health section is here at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to assist the base community to maintain health standards and stop diseases from affecting the population.
Public health does this by working with other units in multiple areas of interest.
“We are involved with community health, immunizations, entomology, sanitation, and food inspection, all to help prevent viruses and diseases,” said Maj Simmons, 378th EMEDS Public Health Officer. “We work with several units out here such as 378th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s Pest Management sections, 378th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, and the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing Safety Office.”
Tech. Sgt. Kelly, 378th EMEDS Public Health Technician, emphasized that their team works with the preventative mindset as they look for possible areas that could cause diseases.
“We get notified of common medical threats out here and, with that information, look at areas on base,” said Kelly. “We can perform food inspections with the dining facility staff, assist bioenvironmental with water samples and wet bulb globe thermometer readings, or perform our own sanitation inspections at common gathering areas such as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility and gym.”
Kelly makes frequent visits around base to check hygiene and cleanliness of facilities, also to inspect food storage when delivery trucks arrive. According to Public Health, one cause for disease is improper food temperatures and storage.
If ever there was an increase in illnesses, the public health team would switch roles from preventive to investigative actions.
“If we identified an increase in Gastro-Intestinal illnesses, we would investigate to find a commonality amongst those affected, locate the source, eliminate the threat, and give recommendations to prevent future outbreaks.” said Major Simmons. “Depending on the type of symptoms presented, we look back 24 to 72 hours, discover similar trends to decide if it was something ingested or something members came in contact by another means.”
Until then, Public Health will continue their mission to keep the base healthy and provide up-to-date information to personnel. Whether that is changing food storage measures, increasing the frequency latrines and showers are cleaned, or enacting new cleanliness guidelines at common areas, Public Health will help ensure the mission continues.