USARAF training in Lesotho provides sustainable knowledge
By MAJ Kimbia Rey, U.S. Army Africa Public AffairsMarch 3, 2014
U.S. Army Africa deployed a team of medical personnel from U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Medical Command, Army Reserve Medical Command, and the 7th Civil Support Command, Feb. 3-14, for medical readiness training between the Kingdom of Lesotho Defense Forces and USARAF.
The Medical Readiness Training Exercise, known as MEDRETE 14-1, was comprised of a team of four U.S. Army doctors and two U.S. Army public nurses with backgrounds in preventive medicine, infectious disease, and pediatrics who worked side-by-side with Lesotho medical professionals to develop greater interoperability between the two forces and sharpen their ability to detect and treat various infectious diseases.
Every morning medical teams conducted clinical rounds at Makoanyane Medical Hospital with each team member logging-in more than 75 hours and providing treatment to more than 400 patients during the exercise. During the afternoons, team members participated in a total of 25 academic lectures that focused primarily on education, treatment and management of infectious diseases.
The team shared tactics, techniques and procedures, and built upon the capacity of the LDF medical personnel to prevent and respond to infections disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
"We were able to learn how the LDF deliver care in an austere environment," said Maj. Kevin Miller, U.S. Army public health nurse based with the 6250th U.S. Army Hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "There are a variety of illnesses that we don't see in the U.S. so this event opened my eyes on how to deliver efficiency in patient care in an austere environment."
The training also provided an opportunity for the LDF to learn how things are done in the U.S.
"This training was very important because when working alone, things [can] become very routine," said Maj. Kehlane Makhoabane, nurse with the LDF. "The experience has given us a boost with new information to provide quality care. The U.S. presence gave our hospital visibility to stakeholders who came to our school and presented information during lectures -- we have never had them here before."
The exchange also enhanced the ability of both partner militaries to provide regional support to United Nations Peace Support Operations and Humanitarian Assistance operations.
"The professionalism of our U.S. team and Lesotho partners was exceptional, and both exemplified the Army values," said Brig. Gen. Kenneth Moore, USARAF deputy commanding general. "The LDF is truly a professional force and a willing and capable partner. This professionalism will enhance our ability to continue to support regional medical care and address ongoing medical issues."
Moore said the long-term impact is the exchange of sustainable knowledge.
"The U.S. and LDF now have a knowledge base for continued care, and the LDF are taking the lead in management and reduction of infectious disease treatment in the country of Lesotho," the deputy commanding general said.
The U.S and Lesotho have an ongoing bilateral relationship, and this training event has paved the way for three additional engagements scheduled in Lesotho this year.