The command surgeon’s office at U.S. Africa Command held a conference Aug. 24-26 at Kelley Barracks to discuss ways to leverage capabilities of all partners, including international and interagency, on the African continent to deliver health services to U.S. and combined forces.
Representatives from AFRICOM’s component commands, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, and other U.S. military, interagency, and partner organizations attended the event.
“The opportunity to get everyone together in one room is paramount to the success of our command,” said Col. George Appenzeller, AFRICOM command surgeon. “Our goal is to protect and care for service members and families and this event helps us to do so.”
According to Cmdr. Byron Wiggins of AFRICOM surgeon’s office, one way that this conference differed from similar events hosted by the surgeon’s office was the inclusion of working groups that focused on several topics, to include the integration of capabilities between the different military branches and patient movement.
Another working group focused on international partnerships and European partners such as Spain and France attended the conference and participated in the group.
“Developing international partnerships and close working relationships between our international partners and our components is key to making sure that we limit risk to our service members,” Appenzeller said.
The conference and other meetings like it pave the way for new solutions to complex medical problem sets, Appenzeller said.
While this was the initial meeting for these groups, Wiggins said the discussions were productive.
“It provides a roadmap for a way forward,” he said. “In the end it’s all about taking care of the forces on the ground.”