***image1***Soldiers from the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital are working with KMC Airmen in preparation for the upcoming 30-day medical readiness exercise, MEDFLAG 05.
The exercise consists of four phases. During the first phase, the 367th Engineers, a Reserve Component Engineer Battalion out of Duluth, Minn., will complete civil engineering projects in the city of Ambriz. In stage two, the 212th MASH will conduct a mass casualty exercise with the Angolan military. During stage three, the Medical Task Force will conduct national disaster relief training with civilian and military members of Angola. During stage four the 212th MASH clinicians will perform between 80 to 100 surgeries and treat 1,500 patients in three Angolan cities. The Department of State Humanitarianism Assistance Program also has donated nearly $200,000 of medical equipment to be used by Angolan medical facilities.
The exercise will have its challenges, said Capt. Tom Sherbert, an environmental scientist at Landstuhl’s U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine. A 27-year civil war ended in 2002. Driving conditions are very poor, with shoulder-high holes scattered about the roads.
Captain Sherbert was part of a site survey team that went to Angola to gather intelligence about what the deploying members would face.
“Many of the places we are going don’t have electricity or running water,” he said. “They have very poor sanitation conditions and contaminated surface water.”
Ensuring all vaccinations are up to date is paramount for all deploying servicemembers.
“There are still many people dying every day in Africa,” said Captain Sherbert. “Especially in Angola.”
The diseases given the most concern are malaria, yellow fever, African sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis and Marburg Hemorrhagic fever.
There are effective vaccinations for many of these diseases, said Maj. Hugh McLean, commander of the Kleber Health Clinic.
“We take care of all their immunizations, their hearing, eyeglasses and anything medically they need done.”