Military readies to open Tropic Care Kaua‘i

About 400 people, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, optamologists, opticians and dentists from around he country, attended an orientation briefing Monday for Tropic Care Kaua‘i 2012 at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

Dr. Dileep Bal of the Kaua‘i District Health Office said the group that will offer free health care to Kaua‘i residents beginning today includes personnel from active and reserve ranks of the armed forces.

The Tropic Care Kaua‘i program is an exercise in rapid deployment under the Innovative Readiness Training program, Bal said.

During the groups’ two-week stay on Kaua‘i, they will offer free health care services seven days a week at three different sites — the Hanapepe Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji for Westside residents, the Kaua‘i Community College nursing facility for the central area and All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapa‘a for Eastside and North Shore residents.

“Clinics will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., including the weekends,” Tommy Noyes, who is in charge of publicity for Tropic Care Kaua‘i, said.

The only exception is March 6, when the three clinics will close early at 3:30 p.m.

Nathan Kalama, offering the opening oli and pule, defined “aloha” for the visiting contingent, noting the word is broken into two parts — “alo” which means a space one occupies, and “ha” which means breath. Kalama said aloha can be defined as sharing breath with someone.

A special panel facilitated by Jose Bulatao acquainted the visitors with the local culture.

Clinic visits are open to anyone during the specified times. During these visits, people can expect health services that include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling.

The clinics will not accept advance appointments. Participants will be seen “first come, first served.”

Tropic Care Kaua‘i is a partnership between the Kaua‘i District Health Office and the Department of Defense, Reserve Affairs.

For more information about Tropic Care Kaua‘i, or to request special assistance, or an auxiliary aid, call 241-3387.

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