Wednesday July 22, 2009
What is it?
Officers serving with the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit - Kenya (USAMRU-K) are working to combat diseases in East Africa, while learning more about how
to best prevent diseases among U.S. Soldiers. With the establishment of
U.S. Army Africa, USAMRU-K is now coordinating its unique missions with
new Army initiatives on the continent. First established in 1969, USAMRU-K has been permanently based in Nairobi since 1973. Altogether, USAMRU-K has 11 Soldiers, two Army civilians and roughly 350 Kenyan contractors - a mix of doctors, nurses, scientists and laboratory technicians working together to research, test and prevent diseases, to include malaria, HIV and the flu.
What has U.S. Army Africa done?
In late-June, Col. Scott Gordon, the USAMRU-K commander, was among several top medical research and medical logistics officers who visited
U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, to meet with key leaders to discuss a way forward for Army medical missions and mentoring in Africa. Officers from U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, U.S. Army Medical and Materiel Command-Europe and the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center offered briefings about their units' ongoing programs.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
A working dialogue has begun between U.S. Army medical officers engaged
in Africa and U.S. Army Africa's medical staff. As U.S. Army Africa Soldiers learn more about current medical projects in Africa, they can work toward supporting ongoing efforts and develop new initiatives on the continent. For example, an aging research center in the remote jungles of Central Africa could become a future engineering project for Soldiers to undertake. Also, two upcoming exercises in Africa, MEDFLAG 09 in Swaziland and Natural Fire 10 in Uganda, include offering medical clinics to local people.
Why is this important to the Army?
In his recent speech from Ghana, President Obama emphasized the importance of global health. Gaining knowledge from medical Soldiers, already serving in Africa, raises U.S. Army Africa's ability to work toward its goal of bringing positive change to the continent. By building capacity within partner nations - to include working toward the detection, prevention and treatment of diseases - the U.S. Army also maintains valuable allies in Africa, key to supporting stability on the continent.
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