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NEWS | Sept. 21, 2010

MEDFLAG 10: A lasting partnership between two countries

By Staff Sgt. Kassidy Snyder, Illinois National Guard

KINSHASA, Congo - After four days of humanitarian assistance to Kinshasa residents, MEDFLAG 10 participants conducted a mass casualty exercise on Sept. 16 after a simulated bus crash created about 50 casualties.

Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s quick reaction force demonstrated their techniques and skills as first responders to a catastrophe.

“My role was to check the level of bleeding and monitor the patient’s blood pressure once they arrived,” said Ndaya Lilian, a female UMIR laboratory technician. “Outside of the military I am a specialist in child delivery and the experience and knowledge I gained over the last few weeks will help me out tremendously in the future.”

This unit demonstrated its expertise in three areas of response: picking up of casualties, triage at the advanced medical point, and a mobile surgery hospital. The hospital included three main services: emergencies, surgery room combined with intensive care and hospitalization.

As the exercise was taking place, 1st Lt. Coty Sicble, a medical administrator with the North Dakota National Guard’s 814th Army Support Medical Company based in Bismarck, gave the audience a step-by-step narration of the exercise as it was taking place.

Sicble described the intense preparation and execution the UMIR demonstrated during the exercise.

After the mass casualty exercise, participants ended MEDFLAG 10 with a closing ceremony at the Command and Staff College where the exercise first began.

“MEDFLAG 10 has taken place and was a moment of an intense scientific, technical, social and psychological communion in perfect harmony between the American forces and FARDC respective health services,” said Col. Gilbert Kabanda, the FARDC surgeon general, during his speech at the closing ceremony, Sept. 17.

During MEDFLAG 10, U.S. and Congolese worked closely together to increase the combined readiness of their medical forces to respond to humanitarian emergencies. MEDFLAG is a key program in the United States’ efforts to partner with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to develop a professional Congolese military that is accountable to civilian authority and provides stability and security to the local people.

“We can confirm, without contradiction, that MEDFLAG 10 has achieved all its objectives assigned by both military hierarchies, American and Congolese,” said Kabanda.