COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE – HORN OF AFRICA, Djibouti – Service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa attended a Fundamentals of Global Health Engagement (FOGHE) course at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, June 11-13.
The three-day course centered on establishing and improving the awareness level and understanding of U.S. Department of Defense global health engagements.
“Over the past year alone, there have been more than 20 health related engagements with our African partners, in collaboration with other U.S. Government agencies, both long and short term,” said U.S. Army Maj. Joe Pena, CJTF-HOA deputy surgeon general. “Another 10 health engagements are anticipated through the end of the fiscal year in the CJTF-HOA combined joint operations area, and area of interest.”
During the course, the service members discussed the strategic, operational and civil-military considerations in the DoD global health engagements, and how these engagements support national security strategies and regional security objectives. Additionally, attendees gained an understanding of how to identify the complex components, such as social, economic and cultural considerations, of DoD health engagements.
“Global health engagements directly contribute to CJTF-HOA’s mission and lines of effort, advancing operational readiness, protecting our troops and building interoperability in order to improve the effectiveness of CJTF-HOA working with our African partners,” said Pena.
A team of three instructors from the Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University in Maryland were on board to present the course for the first time on the continent of Africa.
U.S. Army Spc. Bryan Weathers, a combat medic and healthcare specialist medic for the 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior, New Jersey National Guard, assigned to CJTF-HOA, attended the FOGHE course.
“I've done a lot of work with various organizations through my church back home, most of them working in Africa,” said Weathers. “Looking at how the DoD can support medical activities like this, and how we can support and build up partner nations medical capacities, brought the worlds of the military and humanitarian assistance together for me so I jumped at the opportunity to enroll in this course. I thought it was excellent. The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and the class discussion was fantastic.”
CJTF-HOA hopes to host the course again in the future, expanding the invitation to other agencies across the African continent.
“CJTF-HOA is an enabler to regional stability and security through global health engagement,” said Pena. “It reduces risks to CJTF-HOA personnel while fostering the mission capability of our African partners’ forces, directly supporting U.S. Africa Command’s strategic themes.”