TARFU, Estonia - More than 800 participants from 21 countries gathered in Tarfu, Estonia, from Nov. 30- Dec 2, for the 29th Multinational Military Medical Exchange and 15th War and Disaster Medicine Conference, a three-day event focused on discussing contingency and conflict battlefield care.
The conference featured a variety of speakers, from Estonian president Alar Karis, to frontline surgeons and medical responders currently caring for the wounded, ill and injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
In addition to the conference, Agile Sparrow, a tactical combat casualty care competition, took place. Agile Sparrow provided 50 medical response teams, both military and civilian, with a complex pre-hospital trauma scenario, equipped only with a furnished aid bag. This multination competition culminated with Estonia winning 1st and 3rd, and U.S. earning a 2nd place trophy. Cadre members from Estonia and U.S. ran the event and evaluated participants.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray, commanding general of Medical Readiness Command, Europe, and Command Surgeon of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, along with the Estonian President, Mr. Alar Karis, opened the conference emphasizing the importance of medical security cooperation and interoperability.
Murray said that events such as the MMME/WDMC are vital in allowing multinational elements to compare and build practices for emergency care in the battlefield, and meeting with partner nations allows discussion and the development of practices on the battlefield.
“Multinational Military Medical Exchange - each one of those words are important,” Murray said. “They highlight our ability to gather and hear knowledge to ensure interoperability, and build relationships at the multinational level for us to be successful.”
Murray said that the event was also the first in which leaders were able to delve into current issues faced by emergency responders in Ukraine. Hearing from Ukrainian medical providers allowed attendees to get a better understanding of new challenges facing medical providers on the battlefield.
“It is important to be able to compare and contrast what each other does, so then we are able to go forward and describe what one group does differently from the other to be able to understand the differences and be successful,” Murray said.
Event organizer 1st Lt. Hele-Reet Lille, a nurse instructor at the Estonian Military Academy, said that the event was a success, and provided important knowledge and increased awareness for medical readiness on the battlefield. Lille said that the cooperation between the Estonian military and U.S. Army Europe and Africa, as well as the tactical experience and technology that the U.S. military was able to showcase at the event, served in increasing awareness, and improved the partnership in medical readiness internationally.
Most importantly, Lille said, events such as the MMME/WDMC allow countries to plan and prepare to defend against future threats.
“I think that as our President said [at the event], ongoing war shows us that in these matters we have to be ready,” Lille said. “We have learned from Ukraine that we have to be prepared, and this conference is one place to come together and talk about these issues.”
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