The Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) surgeon cell hosted multinational partners and other U.S. military medical professionals during a Military Tropical Medicine Course (MTMC) Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2022.
“This biannual training has a history at Camp Lemonnier stretching back multiple years,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. James Dougherty, CJTF-HOA surgeon cell preventive medicine officer. “Recently, the course had to take a break due to COVID-19, and this iteration is the second since being resumed. The course has become an excellent opportunity to offer front-line medics, providers and other force protection service members a chance to learn more about the operating environment, the ongoing and emerging threats, and also provides professional level Continuing Medical Education (CME), a must for our providers and credentialed service members.”
The three-day course covered infectious diseases, common health exposures, deadly animals, and Canine Critical Care, among other topics. The MTMC is open to all who have an interest. This iteration of the course had participants from the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, Japan, France and Spain.
“This increased their knowledge of highly specific threats in the region and also exposed them to specialties outside of their own,” said Dougherty. “This enhances crosstalk and enables more efficient communication.”
The 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) states that the U.S. must prioritize interoperability, and knowledge exchanges like these with joint partners not only enhances capabilities but also provide vital opportunities for U.S. service members to learn through and alongside them.
The MTMC is just one example of how the surgeon cell, as part of CJTF-HOA, preserves the health of the force within the command’s area of interest while providing guidance to commanders and the joint services throughout the task force.
The CJTF-HOA Surgeon Cell is a multifaceted directorate with the stated goal of preserving the health of the force through preventive medicine, surveillance, medical intelligence analysis, crisis response, and interaction with the health services of our military and civilian partners. This can lead to members responding to a food borne disease outbreak, organizing blood deliveries, enabling casualty evacuation, and providing medical crisis response counseling all within a single day. Additionally, the surgeon cell provides command, control and coordination of all CJTF-HOA medical assets.
“This course provided our front line medics with actionable knowledge that enhances their ability to respond in volatile and unpredictable environments; to provide our clinicians with rigorous CME on emerging diseases, exotic pathogens, and provide reach back capabilities for high level care; and to strengthen and enhance the relationships with our joint partners, better enabling an integrated and interoperable medical environment in East Africa,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Bay, CJTF-HOA surgeon cell director.
Headquartered at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, CJTF-HOA is located on the only permanent U.S. military installation on the African continent. As a dynamic operational headquarters, CJTF-HOA ensures a strategic partnership with Djibouti and partners, nations, coalition forces and interagency and intergovernmental organizations to achieve a unified effort.