AMISOM, Somali medics perfect lifesaving skills
African Union Mission in Somalia and Somali combat medics participated in the AMISOM Sector Medical Conference in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 5-7, 2016, to exchange best medical practices in combat and casualty medicine with physicians from the U.S. and United Kingdom.
The AMISOM Sector Medical Conference was the first medical education event for doctors from the Somali National Army, and it brought together all lead joint multinational medical personnel from each of the five Somali sectors and the city of Kismayo into one location at the same time.
Conference topics included tactical combat casualty care under fire, prioritization of care and resources based on life-threatening injuries, U.S. military and U.N. role one and two medical care and capabilities, and damage control resuscitation and surgery. Other topics featured the best utilization of medical and casualty evacuation via rotary wing aircraft. The event culminated in a mass casualty exercise allowing participants to personally assess their tactical medical capabilities at the point of injury.
“The mass casualty exercise gave myself and the U.K. instructors an opportunity to aid the participants in fine-tuning their tactical application of combat casualty care, and identify areas to address more in-depth during the remainder of the conference,” said U.S. Army Maj. Andrew Mosier, 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion physician.
“This was a great opportunity to unite and forge a foundation around a common identity: soldier medical care,” Mosier said. “The level of cooperation, sincerity of learning, and participation between eight countries to secure the best medical care for combat and trauma-related casualties among the Somali sectors is refreshing.”
Mosier added that it was a privilege to speak on damage control resuscitation, which is a treatment method that utilizes blood products instead of traditional IV fluids, and specifically to speak on damage control surgery for bleeding—which was first championed by another U.S. military surgeon, Dr. Kelly Holcombe, who was present in Somalia during 1993’s Battle of Mogadishu.
The conference, established by AMISOM, was facilitated by a medical team from the United Kingdom working as part of the U.N. Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).
“The U.N. Support Office in Somalia has significant resource challenges and has been operating at the edge of its capabilities, providing U.N.-mandated support not only to AMISOM but also the Somali National Army and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM),” said British Army Maj. Jane Phillips, UNSOS medical support officer. “Therefore, the U.K. [personnel] are here to support the U.N. in its mission to provide support to the African Mission in Somalia as they counter Al-Shabaab and build stability in the country.”