MEDRETE 18-1: Closing ceremony highlights strengthened US, Senegalese partnership
By Sgt. Micah MerrillNovember 7, 2018
DAKAR, Senegal -- Senegalese and American military medical professionals hosted a closing ceremony on the last day of Medical Readiness Training Exercise 18-1 at the Hopital Militaire De Ouakam in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 22, 2018, 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."The success of this exercise is an excellent example of the partnership that the United States has with Senegal," said U.S. Army Col. Marvin Emerson, the deputy surgeon general for U.S. Army Africa, in his speech at the event. "This exercise is about partnership between Senegal and the United States. Equally as important, it is about the medical personnel who speak a common medical language. This was great education, great cooperation and a great experience."MEDRETE 18-1 was a combined effort between the Senegalese government, U.S. Army Africa, and the Vermont National Guard. Throughout the course of the MEDRETE, the combined team conducted surgeries and emergency care totaling more than 85 hours of patient contact. The team worked with more than 74 patients in three different hospitals. Additionally, they spent dozens of hours in medical equipment maintenance, while also improving processes and sharing lessons learned."The MEDRETE is a wonderful way for us to share our experiences with you and to learn from you as well," Emerson said.
"It was an opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise that was very beneficial, something that we are very proud to be part of," said Maj. Balla Diop, the Hopital Militaire De Ouakam commandant. "This mission was incredible and helped us all to become better."This is the first in a series of medical readiness training exercises this year that U.S. Army Africa is expected to facilitate within several countries in Africa, providing an opportunity for the partnered militaries to train shoulder to shoulder in an alternatively resourced environment.