The Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF - HOA) surgeon cell hosted its first virtual Military Tropical Medicine Course (MTMC) for allied and U.S. military medical professionals at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 2 - 4, 2023.
“Our goal is to inform and educate our medical and para-medical providers and give them an overview of what medical conditions and diseases they may see in this area of the world,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Nancy Lester, the CJTF - HOA preventative medicine officer in charge. “Few people outside of the continent will see these diseases or conditions unless they’re in a travelers health or infectious diseases clinic.”
The CJTF - HOA surgeon cell uses the biannual MTMC to be proactive in healthcare by spreading medical knowledge and information throughout the CJTF - HOA area of operations.
“Every six months we teach a refresher on tropical medicine,” said Lester. “Some of the diseases and medical conditions are unique to these regions and most medical professionals from elsewhere don’t typically get exposed to them.”
The three-day course covered several topics like infectious diseases, common health exposures, deadly animals, and even canine critical care. Camp Lemonnier, the United States’ only enduring installation on the continent of Africa, is home to a contingent of military working dogs, making veterinary care an essential part of the course.
“I was teaching a K-9 tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) course about how to provide emergency stabilization for military working dogs,” said U.S. Army Capt. Luke Lehrling, the CJTF - HOA veterinarian services director. “It makes people happy to learn something outside of the normal medical scenarios and courses, plus it makes a difference in these K-9s lives, with proven methods to save them in a battlefield.”
This is the first year the course is intended to be predominately virtual with over 80 participants. A small number of providers attended the course in person to assist and provide feedback.
“It’s a good refresher and it reminds participants of things they might see, “ said Lester. “The MTMC classes create a forum to navigate atypical medical issues while also being a great forum for people to network from all over the world.“