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RAMSTEIN AIR FORCE BASE, Germany – Col. Sean T. Collins from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, attended the African Surgeon General Symposium held at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during a weeklong summit in late August 2015.
The event was hosted by U.S. Air Forces Africa. The purpose of this conference was to support a senior leader engagement with the surgeons general of the invited African nations and corresponding U.S. State Partners – known as the State Partnership Program (SPP). East African nations make significant contributions to a myriad of medical support operations including peacekeeping, disaster response, national healthcare, and United Nations and African Union operations.
The State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau, guided by U.S. Department of State foreign policy goals, and supports theater commanders' security cooperation objectives. The State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships around the globe for the past 22 years; the State Partnership Program has a total of 70 state partnerships.
African medics rapidly respond to medical contingencies encountered during combat operations, peacekeeping, and natural or man-made disasters. Working together, the development of regionally standardized medical tactics were discussed. Collins felt the meeting was very successful and commented “this was an incredible opportunity to sit face-to-face with our new partners and start building a relationship surrounding training.”
This is a multi-lateral military-to-military engagement that is intended to strengthen U.S. strategic partnerships with key countries in eastern Africa to enhance regional cooperation and interoperability. The activities discussed a synchronized, regional military medical action plan to train and maintain medical peacekeepers for interoperable UN/AU coalition efforts.
The ability to respond to national, regional, or global health crisis drove the discussion of goals to organize, train and equip through regional institutions. The conference was well attended and multiple nations were represented by senior ministry of defense surgeons general including: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Senegal. Collins further stated: “meeting with the Chief Medical Officer of the Kenya Defence Forces has a direct impact and influence on our opportunity to have impactful training opportunities.”
Collins also commented on the team building concept of the New England states, having had the opportunity to sit with the Vermont State Partnership Program team and their partner Senegal–opening further opportunities for a multi-state/African nation exercise.
Command Sergeant Major
Carlos Ramos Rivera
State Command Sergeant Major
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