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U.S. Army sponsors medical exchange with Djibouti military
U.S. Army and Air Force medical professionals took part in a Medical Information Exchange with the Djiboutian national army January 12-16 at the Kempinski Hotel in Djibouti.<br />
U.S. Army and Air Force medical professionals took part in a Medical Information Exchange with the Djiboutian national army January 12-16 at the Kempinski Hotel in Djibouti.

The idea for the conference came from the director of Djibouti Health Services who visited U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT) and requested they give the Djiboutian national army an idea of what the U.S. Army's medical and non-medical soldiers learn about basic medical skills. Americans participating in the conference were assigned to ARCENT, U.S. Central Command Air Forces, and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

Djiboutian army Sergeant Hassanleh Ali Hassanleh said the medical information exchange allowed him to learn valuable lifesaving techniques.

"This was a wonderful opportunity. I learned a lot, especially technique and what the Americans are using to treat wounds on the battlefield," Hassanleh said.

Djiboutian national army Commanding General Zakaria Cheick Ibrahim, also discussed the medical exchange. "This was a very good exercise," Ibrahim said. "This will help those who don't have a medical background because they need to be equipped with basic medical skills."

During the information exchange, the Djiboutian soldiers were able to see and demonstrate how to treat heat injuries, conduct an initial evaluation of a casualty, how to treat a fracture, a chest wound or a broken bone.

The soldiers used special training materials to simulate serious injuries.

"To help them better understand what some of these medical scenarios look like, we brought along moulage, which is the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training medical and military personnel, so they can see firsthand what it would look like on a real person if they saw it in the field," said Air Force Technical Sergeant Traci Wilmoth of the 99th Medical Group. Wilmoth is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. "These types of injuries are new to them, so it's important to simulate and make it as realistic as possible."

At the end of the exchange, the Djiboutian soldiers went through a battlefield scenario to apply the skills reviewed in classroom instruction.

"We wanted to know how well they absorbed the information, so we set up a few scenarios at the Djiboutian army's Camp Cheik Osman, so they could show us and their leadership that the exchange of ideas was beneficial," said U.S. Army Major Kent Hall, Horn of Africa desk officer for ARCENT. Hall is a native of Memphis, Tennessee.

"Some of the soldiers served as wounded personnel, combat medics, and others provided perimeter security and found out that even they could become injured in a lifesaving effort," Hall said. "The simulation of combat injuries was definitely a good way for us to see how they work as a team and how they would conduct in a real life situation."

According to Wilmoth, learning new medical information and practicing it whenever possible is beneficial for the person as well as the patient they are called upon to help in a combat situation.

"All the information they have about basic medical skills will help them save lives because that's what weeâ?re trained to do -- save lives," Wilmoth said.

According to Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Philip Johnson, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464 aerospace medical technician, being able to demonstrate methods of invaluable lifesaving techniques to partner nation soldiers is an experience that makes him proud to be a part of the medical field.

â?Ittâ?s my honor and privilege to work beside the Djiboutian army and share with them techniques they may not be familiar with as part of their military training,,â? said Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Philip Johnson of Corpus Christi, Texas. "It helps to develop a partner nation militarily and strengthens the partnership between the U.S. and Djibouti, and that is always a win-win for all involved," said Johnson, a medical technician assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464.