Medical Readiness and Training Exercise 12

Tuesday September 25, 2012

What is it?

Medical Readiness and Training Exercise 12-2 (MEDRETE 12-2) is the second in a series of fiscal year 2012 USARAF MEDRETEs where small teams of U.S. Military medical professionals and support personnel deploy for two weeks or less to a select area in Africa. The teams deploy in order to get valuable real-world training, increase interoperability with host nation medical providers, and where possible, help citizens in need of treatment.

During MEDRETE 12-2, trained U.S. ophthalmologists and Burkinabe medical specialists will practice a suture-less cataract surgical technique known as ECCE (extracapsular cataract extraction) to help reduce the high incidence of cataract blindness in Burkina Faso and better prepare U.S. military ophthalmologists for deployment in austere operating environments, simultaneously enhancing Burkina Faso's ophthalmologic capabilities and fostering interoperability between our two nations. This small military footprint is meant to make a big impression on the host nation populace.

What has the Army done?

The real benefit of a MEDRETE is increased medical capability, interoperability and understanding gained by two professional militaries working side by side building lasting relationships. Life-changing events became the norm during the January's 2012 MEDRETE 12-1 in Zanzibar. That mission also featured a suture-less cataract training exchange between U.S. and Tanzanian Defense Force members and saw 230 people receive highly valued surgical care.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The future will see fiscal year 2013 Medical Readiness and Training Exercises in Benin, Mauritania, Niger and Lesotho. MEDRETE 13-1 is scheduled to take place in the West African nation of Benin during January 2013 and will focus on infectious disease concerns. A team of fourteen U.S. medical personnel, a four member support team and two public affairs personnel will take part in the exercise.

Why is this important to the Army?

The real benefit of exercises like this is the mutual respect and understanding gained by two professional militaries working side-by-side to build lasting relationships. These relationships will far outlast the short-term benefits of this exercise, and this exercise is really a small facet of a wider, strong lasting partnership between our two countries. Most of the United Nations humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the world are in Africa, so a MEDRETE is an example of how U.S. Army Africa is helping to ensure a more self-sufficient, secure and stable Africa.


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