U.S. and Malawi medics share experiences, ideas during medical operations workshop
January 24, 2010
- Medical staff from the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) participated in a three-day medical workshop with soldiers from U.S. Army Africa.
LILONGWE, Malawi -- Medical staff from the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) participated in a three-day medical workshop with Soldiers from U.S. Army Africa, January 20-22, 2010, at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The event, the third military-to-military activity to occur in Malawi since August 2009, allowed U.S. and Malawian Soldiers to share experiences in providing medical services to soldiers and civilians in combat, on peace missions, and in garrison operations.
Twenty-one Malawian soldiers participated in the workshop, which was led by Maj. Terry Clark and Sgt. 1st Class Roddy Rieger from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The workshop offered opportunities for the exchange of ideas with a particular focus on the challenges of providing routine and urgent medical care for deployed troops, especially those in remote locations. Topics covered included an overview of U.S. military medical operations, preventative medicine, casualty evacuation, medical evacuation operations, and combat lifesaver programs.
Lt. Simon Mphasa and several other MDF soldiers shared the challenges they faced in providing medical care to troops while they were deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of an MDF contingent under the United Nations Mission in the Congo (MONUC). The U.S. Soldiers also discussed their recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The medical operations workshop will assist the MDF in developing and refining medical operations at home or when deployed. The U.S. Soldiers also benefited from the workshop, learning more about programs implemented by their Malawian counterparts. For instance, the U.S. Soldiers were interested in an MDF program which embeds a medic-trained infantryman within infantry units, allowing them to provide greater medical support to combat units.
The U.S. Army Africa team introduced the Malawians to the Army's combat lifesaver program which trains regular Soldiers to provide emergency care.
Maj. Franklin Tembo of the MDF said, "This would serve a valuable role in complementing our own existing program in getting Soldiers trained as first responders within the infantry units." Tembo also indicated that the MDF will now begin to design its own combat lifesaver program.
The workshop culminated in a practical exercise in which MDF soldiers set up a battalion aide station and demonstrated how they run it.
The MDF participates in United Nations peace operations across the African continent. Many of the MDF's medical personnel have already participated in peace operation deployments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sudan.