Dikhil Teachers, U.S. Civil Affairs Troops Exchange Emergency-Response Practices
Local area educators and 411th Civil Affairs Battalion Soldiers in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa swapped best practices in medical emergency first response recently during the second iteration of a CJTF-HOA-sponsored first responder best practices exchange for teachers in Dikhil, Djibouti.
"The reason I came is to learn and be able to help others to use CPR and other training, and to help my students," said first-grade teacher Abdi Gouled Doualeh.
During the 2-day event, 15 Djiboutian educators spent a day learning CPR and dental care, and a day learning to recognize and respond to head and eye injuries; bruises; sprains and fractures; bleeding; heat injuries; shock; and burns.
"We're not teaching," said U.S. Army Sergeant Mathew Newell, the event mission commander. "We're sharing what we know about basic first response and adding onto what they already know about controlled bleeding, shock, splinting broken bones and things of that nature."
After discussion about medical actions applicable in varied emergency situations, the military participants demonstrated their best-practice techniques on one another, then the students took turns "treating" one another for each situation and injury - first in the classroom and eventually at the scene of a simulated vehicle accident.
"We first did an event like this in October, after receiving a request from Dikhil residents for a first-aid best practices event exchange to help teachers address situations in which school-children are injured," Sgt 1st Class Joshlyn Suazo, 411th CA BN Specialty Teams noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, said. "After getting positive feedback and responses from Dikhil teachers who participated in the October event and a request for another similar event, Dikhil educators and the CA team developed the second event to also include CPR."
Abdi, who attended similar first-response training in the past from a non-U.S. government agency, said he valued several aspects of CJTF-HOA's event - including learning personal dental hygiene and infant CPR; receiving printed take-away material in English and French; and obtaining medical training supplies for each student to get hands-on practice.
Likewise, U.S. military members at the exchange came away with their own learning experiences.
"The thing I learned working with the Djiboutians is they do a lot of the same things we do in the U.S., they just use different materials because in Djibouti they don't have access to the same supplies we do," Suazo said.
"I also learned how responsive they are to us," she added. "When we visited the school in preparation for this event, we saw some of the teachers who had taken the course with us in October. They were just so excited to see us and it made us so happy they remembered us and told us about situations where they used the things they learned. It feels great to have been able to do this during my time here."
Through the various CA activities accomplished in Djibouti and other countries in the CJTF-HOA combined joint operations area, 411th CA BN members contribute to the CJTF-HOA mission of strengthening the operational and institutional capabilities of East African partners in order to promote security and prosperity in the region.
"As a civil affairs team," Newell said, "we're here to make the standard of life a little bit better for the people of Djibouti and better the relationship between the United States and East Africa."