U.S. Soldiers Train United Nations Reps in Djibouti

Story by Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa

Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Gibson is carried on a litter by Adel Saleh, United Nations World Food Program administrator and finance officer, center left, and another U.N. agency representative during a training session at the World Health Organization Djibouti Headquarters, Jan. 22, 2014. Members of the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s functional specialty team trained representatives from multiple U.N. agencies on trauma care during a four-day course at the WHO Headquarters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross/ Released)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Gibson is carried on a litter by Adel Saleh, United Nations World Food Program administrator and finance officer, center left, and another U.N. agency representative during a training session at the World Health Organization Djibouti Headquarters, Jan. 22, 2014. Members of the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s functional specialty team trained representatives from multiple U.N. agencies on trauma care during a four-day course at the WHO Headquarters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross/ Released)

For the first time in Djibouti, the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s Functional Specialty Team trained members from multiple United Nation agencies on trauma care during a four-day course at the World Health Organization Djibouti Headquarters, Jan. 20-23.

The three-person team, part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, altered the Army’s trauma combat critical care training to fit the needs of U.N. representatives. Attendees were from the U.N.’s Children’s Fund, World Food Bank, Food and Agriculture office, WHO and other organizations.

The agencies travel throughout Djibouti and frequently work from remote sites, where a hospital or healthcare facility could be several hours away.

“They realized they had a short fall in their trauma training and everybody looks at them as physicians,” said Army Maj. Thomas Webster, 443rd CA BN FST officer in charge. “There’s a huge need for [trauma] training in Djibouti.”

Although some are physicians, most of the people in these organizations hold administrative positions. The people in remote villages look at them as much more than just finance specialists or managers; they’re seen as capable of helping those in need of medical attention, Webster explained.

At any given time they may need to provide medical attention to people injured by vehicle collisions or rollovers, crimes or assaults, as well as other things such as choking or someone suffering from dehydration.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Watson and Army Staff Sgt. James Gibson taught U.N. representatives the same principles and practices taught to soldiers. However, soldiers learn how to perform the trauma care while still engaged in combat.

Representatives were taught how to apply a tourniquet, open an airway using several different methods, start an IV and perform different litter carries. Most of them will travel with a medical kit to ensure the supplies will be readily available.

Rayana Bouhaka, WHO representative, said she was very impressed with the training and feels it will be very beneficial.

“We have [a] big interest in what others do and [in] making sure when we are in a country [that] we do as much for that country and the people,” Bouhaka said.

Bouhaka said the WHO is responsible for advising U.N. health policies and plans, maintaining a database to document the health situation in the country and implementing best practices here.

She said she felt there was a huge need for the training because of increased threats and security issues.

“I think [this was a] good collaboration and exchange of information [about] what we also do as agencies [and individuals],” Bouhaka said. “We don’t have many opportunities to exchange information, so I think it [was] a good forum to do that.”

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U.S. Soldiers Train United Nations Reps in Djibouti