Partner nation hosts pandemic ‘table top’ exercise, assess response capabilities
ARUSHA, Tanzania – At the request of the Tanzanian government, a week-long pandemic response table-top exercise is being held to assist its government and military identify baseline pandemic preparedness capabilities.
Hosted by the Tanzania Government, the exercise is designed to enhance Tanzanian military and civil authorities’ response capabilities and emphasize limitations of normal responders, such as international non-government organizations, during a severe pandemic disaster.
“This exercise is very timely,” said William Lukuvi, Tanzania Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office. “Every time we have a disaster, our mechanisms for preparedness are tested.” “I am looking forward to further deepening and consolidation of cooperation and support between the United States government and Tanzania,” said Lukuvi.
The exercise was organized by U.S. Africa Command, funded by U.S. AID, and supported by the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine.
Brigadier General William Glasgow, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa deputy commander attended the exercise and explained that U.S. AFRICOM’s role is to assist in strengthening African partner military nations’ capacity to respond to an epidemic in support of the national pandemic preparedness and response plan.
“Reviewing our current capabilities will help identify areas we need to work on when responding to complex humanitarian emergencies, such as a severe pandemic disaster,” said Glasgow. “I am very pleased at the number of participants supporting this exercise. We’ve all teamed together here to enhance our response capabilities.”
Exercise participants will focus on five areas: health, communications, logistics, security and operations, and discuss various levels of response during a simulated pandemic crisis.
Embracing the ‘whole of government’ approach to addressing potential crisis situations, government, military, international non-government organizations from many African nations and the United States allowed the attendants to assess their respective disaster response plans. The table top exercise is one in a series of collaborative events for senior and mid-level military leaders to train in disaster management, humanitarian assistance, and pandemic preparedness/response with their civilian counterparts.
According to Erik Threet, U.S. Africa Command Pandemic Disaster Response program director, the main objectives of U.S. Africa Command’s Pandemic Response Program are to promote interoperability, enhance the capability of Tanzania’s military to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies, and provide a mechanism for the military’s response plan to be tested at the national, local and regional levels.
“The end state is to ensure the readiness of the Tanzania People’s Defense Force plan to support the national government and civil authorities in the event of a crisis,” said Threet