VICENZA, Italy - Senegalese and American military medical professionals hosted a closing ceremony on the last day of Medical Readiness Training Exercise 17-1 at the Hospital Militaire De Ouakam in Dakar, Senegal, Jan. 25, to highlight the strengthened partnerships.

The 21-day collaborative learning experience was a mutually beneficial exercise that brought together African and U.S. military organizations to foster cooperation while conducting medical tasks and providing health care to the local population.

"It does not matter where you are from, it does not matter your language or background, basic health care is fundamental for a decent life," said U.S. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Africa and the commander of its Army Reserve Engagement Cell, in his speech at the event.

MEDRETE 17-1 was a combined effort between the Senegalese government, U.S. Army Africa, the U.S. Army Reserve 332nd Medical Brigade in Nashville, Tenn., and the Vermont Air National Guard. Through the course of the MEDRETE, the combined team spent more than 64 hours conducting surgeries, medical equipment maintenance, and emergency and dental care, while improving processes and sharing lessons learned.

"I am confident that the exchange of ideas and expertise will help your doctors and nurses with the medical challenges they face on a daily basis, just as much as the exchange helps our care providers where they work," Moore said.

This is the first in a series of medical readiness training exercises this year that U.S. Army Africa is expected to facilitate within a variety of countries in Africa, providing an opportunity for the partnered militaries to train shoulder to shoulder in an alternatively resourced environment.