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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 06:30 AM
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Health needs a concern as Iwakuni grows
Health needs a concern as Iwakuni grows
By Teri Weaver, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, January 24, 2009

Military planners have spent years working on proposals for expanded runways and housing at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, where the relocation of units from other parts of Japan is expected to nearly double the base population by 2014.

Now, Navy health officials are taking on a different strategic task: Where will all the babies be born?

Currently, pregnant women at Iwakuni have two choices. They ride a train four hours north to Yokosuka Naval Base to stay in the Storks Nest, a common system of facilities near military hospitals where women can stay as their due dates near.

Or, the Marines, workers and family members at Iwakuni go off base to see Dr. Takashi Shoji, who has been delivering American babies since he started working at Iwakuni Byoin hospital in 1971.

Both options are still good for now. But Shoji, who is in his 70s, will likely retire in the next few years. And as the base population increases, there will come a need for a more permanent solution for certain health care options including obstetrics at Iwakuni, according to Capt. Kevin D. Moore, the commander of the Navys health care facilities in Japan, South Korea and Diego Garcia.

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