Medical Readiness and Training Exercise 13-2

Wednesday April 24, 2013

What is it?

Medical Readiness and Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) are held by U.S. Army Africa, where small teams of U.S. military medical professionals deploy for up to two weeks in select areas of Africa.

USARAF ‘s MEDRETE 13-2 focused on familiarizing Mauritanian Ministries of Defense and Health personnel with U.S. medical techniques and procedures used when performing suture-less cataract surgery.

Working closely with host nation health officials, U.S. medical and logistical teams deployed to get valuable real-world training, increase interoperability with regional medical providers, and help local citizens needing treatment. During MEDRETE 13-2, U.S. ophthalmologists and Mauritanian doctors practiced a suture-less cataract surgical technique known as Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS) in an effort to reduce the high incidence of cataract blindness in Mauritania. The exercise better prepared U.S. military ophthalmologists to operate in an austere environment, simultaneously increasing the capacity of Mauritania’s Ophthalmology capabilities and strengthening the relationship between our two nations.

What has the Army done?

U.S. Army Africa, in partnership with Mauritanian Armed Forces, conducted a joint Medical Readiness Training Exercise in Nouakchott from March 25 - April 5.

MEDRETE 13-2 is an example of how USARAF is helping to ensure a more self-sufficient, secure and stable Africa. This regional capacity building can be seen in the efforts of a Burkinabe Ministry of Defense doctor who, learned U.S. techniques and, conducted more than 25 surgeries in last year’s Burkina Faso MEDRETE. Since then, he has conducted more than 200 surgeries, mentored his country’s Ministry of Health doctors and joined USARAF efforts in Mauritania.

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

In the last two years, USARAF has conducted four MEDRETE exercises, and three more are scheduled to take place this year. USARAF will continue to link its engagements in order to train-the-trainer and then mentor-the-trainer while training their own soldiers on tasks they’ve learned.

Why is this important to the Army?

The benefit of exercises like this is increased capacity and mutual respect gained by two professional militaries working side-by-side. These learned skills and relationships last far longer than the immediate exercise and become just one more element in creating a wider, long-lasting partnership between U.S. and partner countries.

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