MINI, Chad - Medical practitioners and doctors from various civil and military organizations in Chad trained with U.S. counterparts to refine their skills during a medical readiness training exercise (MEDRETE) conducted in the village of Mini, Chad, Dec. 19, 2014.
Civil Military Support Element (CMSE) 143 is part of the 91ST Civil Affairs (CA) Battalion based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and is currently deployed to Chad. CMSE 143, comprised of U.S. military medical personnel, and a Civil Military Operations (CMO) element from the Chadian Army’s Special Anti-Terrorist Group (SATG), worked in conjunction with doctors from Mini in the training exercise which was funded by U.S. Africa Command’s Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) program.
Relationships key to success
“Our primary goal is to provide training for our military medical teams, then to create the most value-added training event that allows them to train and work with African counterparts, said AFRICOM’s HCA program manager, U.S. Air Force Maj. Craig Dutton. “That dynamic environment serves as the foundation for establishing and nurturing the relationships that make these training exercises successful.
“The CMSE team coordinates with the local military and Ministry of Health to coordinate with clinics and hospitals in the area where they choose to perform the training, said Dutton, “the clinics and hospitals also identify doctors and nurses to participate in the events.”
The exercise participants included Chadian medics working together with U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF) counterparts to obtain vital signs, perform initial consultations, present appropriate diagnoses, and prescribe proper medications and treatments for the people of Mini.
Return on investment
More than 400 people were treated during MEDRETE while a few specialized cases were referred to the district hospital in Biabokoum. A concerted team effort by the doctors and medics made it possible to treat 200 men, 136 women, and 102 children.
Malaria, diarrhea, and typhoid were the most frequently treated illnesses during the event; left untreated, these diseases can result in death. To further benefit the area where MEDRETE was conducted, remaining medications were donated to the local clinic while the residual vitamins were distributed to parents to give to their children.
That’s a lot of bang for the buck when you consider the cost of $11,500 for consumables and medical supplies over a three to four day period resulted in the treatment of so many people.
“MEDRETE proved to be an outstanding opportunity for medical specialists to both sharpen their skills and to treat patients in an isolated and vulnerable area,” said Dutton. “Furthermore, documenting the types of illnesses addressed will allow future teams to better predict medications needed for potential MEDRETEs.”