DAKAR, Senegal -Senegalese and American military medical professionals kicked off Medical Readiness Exercise 19-2 with an informal ceremony at the Ouakam Military Hospital in Dakar, Senegal, April 8.
After introductions and a brief guided tour of the facility, the service members from the partner nations gathered into groups broken down by specialties.
"This is not the first time the U.S. and Senegal have joined forces to execute an effective medical readiness exercise," said U.S. Army Africa Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, during his remarks. "Every year, we build new friendships, establish stronger bonds and learn from one another. The lessons we learn from sharing our best practices help save lives and improve the quality of life for deserving citizens."
The U.S. Army, in partnership with the Senegalese military, will conduct the MEDREX in Dakar and Tambacounda, Senegal, from April 8-26, 2019. The exercise provides a real-world environment where medical professionals from both militaries can build and strengthen medical treatment capability and capacity by honing their medical skills in alternative conditions while also learning different protocols from their counterparts. It is a combined effort between the Senegalese government, U.S. Army Africa, Medical Command (MEDCOM), the 44th Medical Brigade, the 410th Hospital Center, the 14th Combat Support Hospital and the Vermont Army National Guard. This is the fifth USARAF-led medical exercise in Senegal.
Through the course of the 20-day exercise, the combined team members will collaborate with their Senegalese counterparts within various specialties at the medical facilities in Dakar and Tambacounda.
"It is an opportunity for our two Armies to work together and share experiences to improve medical readiness," said Senegal Administer of Health, Col. Ibrahima Diouf. "It is important to share these experiences because you know we don't work in the same environments, for the Senegalese you have to be familiar with these new technologies and for the U.S. handle these harsh conditions which will prepare them to work in the battlefield."
While the exercise allows U.S. forces to train in an alternatively-resourced environment, share medical procedures, and build lasting relationships with Senegalese medical professionals, the Senegalese medical professionals enhance the Senegalese healthcare system's ability to deliver effective general surgery and trauma response in support of regional U.N. and African Union missions. Once the exercise is complete, U.S. participants will return to their home stations.
This is the second medical readiness training exercise this year of an annual series that USARAF facilitates within a variety of countries on the African continent, providing opportunities for the partnered militaries to train shoulder to shoulder.