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For the first-time ever, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center conducted a training program with the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet (NAVCENT), with the goal of enhancing the preparedness of the Kenyan Navy for both civilian and combat mass casualty scenarios.
Nearly 5 months of preparation were invested in creating this first-of-its kind mission with Sheba, which is part of the 5th Fleet’s “Central Partnership Station” in the Middle East & Africa. Vice-Admiral Charles Bradford “Brad” Cooper II, Commander of United States Naval Forces Central Command, Commander, United States Fifth Fleet guided the combined week-long mission to Mombasa.
Prof. Bar-On explains the drill to Admiral Cooper and other naval and civilian personnel
Professor Elhanan Bar-On, who heads Sheba’s Humanitarian and Disaster Response Center, led a team of doctors, nurses, logisticians, simulation experts from M.S.R. – Israel’s national simulation center, as well as WHO consultants, to Mombasa, where they erected an advanced tented facility, simulating an emergency room in a field hospital similar to the one deployed last year in Mostyska, Western Ukraine.
Exchanges on medical-related topics were a major focus during Central Partnership Station. Medical professionals met to share ideas and best practices in treating patients in mass casualty, tactical combat care and public health emergencies. Military and civilian personnel from Kenya, Qatar, Denmark, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. Naval Forces Africa also participated in professional exchanges and community engagement events across the coastal city in southeastern Kenya, alongside their medical colleagues from Sheba. The training included both disaster related clinical skills and system operation during a mass casualty event, and culminated in a full scale mass casualty exercise.
Naval personnel and members of Sheba team outside the Sheba medical tent in Mombasa
“Your presence here in Kenya is the key piece of all this,” Admiral Cooper told Prof. Bar-On.
“I think this is an opening for us to do a lot with the U.S. Navy and Kenya. Medicine and healthcare have no politics and no boundaries. With the camaraderie we found here, we can take this relationship a long way,” said Prof. Bar-On.
“This mission is a uniter. Thank you to the whole (Sheba) team. Wow. Amazing job,” Admiral Cooper responded, after witnessing the facility set up by Sheba for the training.
“It was exciting to see so many experts from multiple nations come together to discuss a wide range of topics,” Lt. Col. H Parker Consaul, NAVCENT’s lead planner for the event,“ summarized.
“Collaborating during this mission has built lasting relationships, strengthened partnerships and allowed us to learn so much from one another.”
“We leveraged the knowledge, skills and abilities of all participants to enhance our relationships and build interoperability,” said Lt. Freddie Mawanay, NAVCENT’s global health engagement officer.
During the mission’s opening day, NAVCENT hosted a Women, Peace and Security Symposium that included a panel discussion with participants from Kenya, Qatar and the United States. The conversation focused on the prevention of conflict and promotion of peace through the empowerment of women.