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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2022

Camp Lemonnier Expeditionary Medical Facility partners with Civil Affairs to conduct knowledge exchange with Djiboutian nurses

By Staff Sgt. Thomas Johns Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa

Members of Camp Lemonnier’s Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) collaborated with members of the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), to conduct a knowledge exchange event at the Dar El Hanan Hospital in Djibouti City, Djibouti, from June 30 to July 21, 2022.

The knowledge exchange program educated 28 Djiboutian nurses in Basic Life Saving techniques, CPR, maternal health and infant care.

"Basic Life Support techniques, and the maternal care skills the nurses learned, helps everyone and saves lives,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Rhonda Dyre, a Civil Affairs-Africa functional specialty team public health nurse. “In the future when they are practicing, we hope they can take the knowledge they learn in this exchange elsewhere to benefit not only Djibouti but wherever they are.”

The knowledge exchange consisted of a pre-test to gauge the skill level of each nurse, three days of instruction on life saving skills, and a final hands-on assessment and post-test. This knowledge exchange emphasized the importance of basic medical care for new mothers and infants.

“The goal was to build relationships and share our outlook and expertise to help them better care for the patients they take care of,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Blaine Jackson, a hospital corpsman with the Camp Lemonnier EMF. “We strived to build a bridge through the field of medicine. One of the best ways to build bonds is through the exchange of information.”

The nurses will use the information they learned to advance medical readiness within Djibouti and around East Africa. Many of the nurses said they are excited to continue to exchange the information with their peers and put their new skills into practice.

“I learned so much from the Civil Affairs team, like CPR for infants and adults, and new-mother and infant care techniques,” said Hawa Isse, Dar El Hanan knowledge exchange participant. “My work and mission is to care for newborns and infants, so this knowledge will help me ensure the patients I care for will stay safe and healthy.”

While the Djiboutian nurses gained important knowledge from the Civil Affairs functional specialty team, the program facilitated a bilateral flow of information, and members of Camp Lemonnier gained useful knowledge about medical terminology as well as communication.

“There’s a lot of things we can always do to get better,” Jackson said. “The question you have to ask yourself is what you can learn and what can you improve. These knowledge exchanges are just as important for us as they are to those we help because we learn how to better communicate and we move forward together with something positive.”

Knowledge exchanges such as this provide a unique opportunity for U.S. and allied personnel stationed in the Horn of Africa to learn about various cultures and trade useful knowledge with local nationals.

“Being able to see the growth week by week of groups throughout the course was the best part of the program for me,” said Jackson. “I loved seeing the finished product. They put in a lot of work, not only in the course work, but overcoming the barriers of communication and making it to the end. It was a great thing to be part of.”