Airborne Medics Care for Kenyan Villagers

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London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Airborne medics have collaborated with Kenyan military and civilian medics, combining their expertise to deliver essential medical assistance to individuals residing in remote villages. Venturing into the arid plains of Laikipia County, the 19 Squadron of the 16 Medical Regiment has embarked on a mission to offer primary healthcare services to isolated communities. Their efforts encompass a wide range of activities, including monitoring nutrition issues and providing vital health check-ups to expectant mothers. Under the guidance of Kenyan authorities, the troops have collaborated with medical professionals from the Kenyan Defence Force. It is along the Kenyan Red Cross, and Beyond Zero.

Airborne Medics Deliver Vital Healthcare to Kenyan Villagers

Beyond Zero is a government-funded health outreach organization that focuses on improving maternal and infant health. Together, the military and civilian medics embarked on a challenging journey, traversing over 700 miles of the breathtaking savannah. Their mission was to establish outreach clinics in 11 towns and villages, providing essential medical care to a staggering number of over 7,500 patients.

The soldiers based in Colchester engage in expeditionary work, which provides them with valuable experience in collaborating with partners to address a broader spectrum of medical conditions within a diverse patient population. Additionally, this work allows them to test and enhance their planning and logistical skills.

On the other hand, for the Kenyan people, this initiative brings healthcare services to communities that lack regular facilities. It serves as a reciprocal benefit for granting British troops the opportunity to train in the country. Lance Corporal Bernard Bryce, a Combat Medical Technician, expressed his thoughts on the matter:

“The healthcare interventions we have been able to provide, which are often taken for granted in the UK, have been life changing for many of the people we have seen. In resource limited communities, the burden from easily preventable and curable diseases is massive.”

Airborne Medics Provide Critical Care for Kenyan Villagers

The Exercise Haraka Serpent, which lasted for a duration of six weeks, has provided an opportunity for medics to undergo specialized training in wilderness medicine. Additionally, they have been able to exchange their expertise in treating battlefield casualties with clinicians from the Kenyan Defence Force. Corporal Sally Sinclair, a nurse, expressed her gratitude for this exercise, describing it as an “invaluable experience.”

“This was my first-time treating patients in a more austere environment outside of an NHS setting, with minimal kit and different protocols,” she explained.

Under an agreement with the Kenyan Government, the British Army conducts up to six infantry battle groups per year, engaging in eight-week exercises in Kenya. These exercises serve as a rigorous trial for units preparing to deploy on operations or undertake high-readiness tasks, as they face the challenging conditions of stifling heat and arduous terrain. The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) is a steadfast training support unit stationed in Kenya.

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 Airborne Medics Extend Lifesaving Care to Kenyan Villagers

Major Iain MacArthur, the Officer Commanding 19 Squadron, expressed his satisfaction with the collective effort put forth by everyone involved in the exercise. From our dedicated doctors, nurses, and medics to our skilled vehicle mechanics and HR specialists, each individual has played a crucial role in ensuring the success of our mission.

What has truly been remarkable is witnessing the seamless integration between our team and our Kenyan partners, both from civilian and military backgrounds. This collaboration has allowed us to effectively deliver healthcare services in remote areas, catering to a wide range of patients with diverse needs. Undoubtedly, this experience will greatly benefit all our soldiers, equipping them with invaluable skills for future endeavors.

Moreover, the officer revealed: “Exercise Haraka Serpent is, in my opinion, one of the best medical exercises for any medic to deploy on, and everyone will leave the exercise as better soldiers and with a much-enhanced worldview.”

The primary mission of 16 Medical Regiment is to provide crucial medical support to the 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, a highly responsive force within the British Army. This specialized regiment is meticulously trained and equipped to deliver a wide spectrum of clinical care, spanning from immediate emergency aid to critical surgical interventions. With the ability to swiftly mobilize via parachute, helicopter, or air landing, they stand ready to respond to any situation at a moment’s notice.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.