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Health Experts Attend First U.S. Africa Command Surgeon's Component Conference
More than 50 medical experts from throughout the Department of Defense and other U.S. government organizations came together in Garmisch, Germany, for the first U.S. Africa Command Surgeon&#39;s Component Conference, August 25-29, 2009. <br /> <br
GARMISCH, Germany - Commander Patrick Laraby, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Internal Health Division, gives a presentation during the first U.S. Africa Command Surgeon's Components Conference, August 26, 2009. The conference provided an opportunity for personnel from U.S. Africa Command and its component organizations as well as interagency staff to discuss emerging health, science, and technology in Africa and reach a common understanding of the command's priorities with regards to African nations. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
1 photo: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 1: GARMISCH, Germany - Commander Patrick Laraby, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Internal Health Division, gives a presentation during the first U.S. Africa Command Surgeon's Components Conference, August 26, 2009. The conference provided an opportunity for personnel from U.S. Africa Command and its component organizations as well as interagency staff to discuss emerging health, science, and technology in Africa and reach a common understanding of the command's priorities with regards to African nations. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
More than 50 medical experts from throughout the Department of Defense and other U.S. government organizations came together in Garmisch, Germany, for the first U.S. Africa Command Surgeon's Component Conference, August 25-29, 2009.

The conference provided an opportunity for personnel from U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) and its component organizations as well as interagency personnel to discuss emerging health, science, and technology in Africa and reach a common understanding of the command's priorities with regard to African nations.

The conference was co-sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of Defense's International Health Division and Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

Stressing the importance of partnership, Commander Patrick Laraby, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Health Division, said, "We need to work together in order to reach our common goals of providing quality healthcare to our patients in Africa."

U.S. Africa Command works with a number of interagency organizations including the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Health and Human Services, as well as non-governmental organizations to coordinate programs meant to have a lasting and positive impact in Africa.

Colonel Shuyler Geller, U.S. Africa Command surgeon, told participants, "Our first day's agenda has been very stimulating and informative, as we have had many subject-matter experts here from Africa Command, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) International Division, DoD labs, BUMED (Bureau of Medicine and Surgery) legal counsel, USAID and numerous policy, technology and global emerging infectious disease supporting agencies."

USAID representative Stella Goings talked about current medical programs in Africa and highlighted areas for more collaboration such as infectious disease research and prevention.

An example of a successful health program is the Department of Defense HIV/ AIDS Program (DHAPP), a part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, (PEPFAR), which has been effective in reducing the number of new HIV/AIDS infections within African militaries.

"The PEPFAR Funding is $30 Billion Dollars, which is the largest amount to date for any single country to give toward any single disease," said Goings.

Also discussed was the President's Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI is funded with $63 Billion dollars to be used in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and to help combat the spread of malaria and tuberculosis.

Commander David Blazes, MD, Global Emergency Infectious Diseases (GEIS), Armed Forces Health and Surveillance Center, said, "Our goal is to stop infectious diseases before they become pandemics."

"The conference was an outstanding opportunity for all of the component surgeons to gain insight into the statutory and legal authorities that underpin our medical engagements and how we collaborate with the numerous agencies on ongoing activities within the Africa Command," said Geller.


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