Army Reserve Medics provide essential training to Kenyan Defence Force

August 23, 2017

This summer a team of seven Army Reserve Medics deployed to Kenya tasked to provide a Medical Short Term Training Team (STTT) as part of 3 Medical Regiment’s Exercise ASKARI SERPENT 17.

The Medics, all from 64 Medical Squadron based in Chorley, deployed with their parent Regiment and took the lead on the STTT task.

Arriving in Nairobi, the team made their way to Laikipia Air Base, better known as LAB E, to meet up with the rest of the Regiment and undergo their RSOI and acclimatisation package. The time at LAB E was used for rehearsals, essential recce’s and a familiarization period with the RAF Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) capability based at Nanuki Showground; just in case.

Following the all-important assurance and validation from the Commanding Officer and RSM, the team made their way to the Kenyan Defence Force School of Infantry located in the centre of the country in Isiolo, where the course was to be delivered. Albeit with a slight detour to Sweetwaters Tented Camp where they managed to see four of the big five on an early morning safari.

BPST (EA), based in Nairobi, co-ordinate and facilitate British military assistance to armed forces in East Africa in order to contribute to Security Sector Reform and increase peacekeeping capacity. In this instance, many of the course students, who came from all over the KDF, were preparing to deploy on an operational peacekeeping tour of Somalia, one of the KDFs biggest commitments at present.

The course focused on immediate lifesaving medical skills that can be delivered on the frontline by infantry soldiers. Loosely based on our own Team Medic Course the KDF were taught the importance of Scene Safety, Communication and Triage before embarking on a 2.5 day theory and practical skills package where the classroom lessons were taught as an entire course before breaking down into Sections to practice the hands on skills and promote teamwork for the confirmation package that was to come. As the students came from units based all across Kenya, it was important to have a team mentality working straight away.

With the emphasis on “Brilliance in the Basics”, the course covered the recognised CABCDE formula of Catastrophic Bleeding, Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability and Expose/Examine/Environment. Breaking each topic down into detail, the course favoured practical, hands on skills over traditional classroom teaching. With a Knowledge Check each morning and two instructors per Section the students were appropriately challenged yet fully supported throughout the course.

Equipped with the knowledge, understanding and confidence to perform these skills under pressure the course then moved into a two-day confirmation phase with the emphasis on Care Under Fire (CUF), whilst also covering Road Traffic Collisions and Basic Life Support. Using the School of Infantry’s excellent Urban Village Training Complex.

Working hard in the Kenyan heat, the students practiced their Tactical Rapid Primary Surveys (TRaPS), casualty extraction and treatment in permissive and semi permissive environments. As the Sections improved the scenarios became increasingly more complex until the Sections were taking a casualty in each Fire Team and having to extract more than once.

The KDF have a vast amount of recent operational experience in Somalia. This showed itself not only in their confirmation phase

Leading the STTT, Capt Greg Conway said: “The seriousness of this task was not lost on the team. The students are preparing to go out the door to Somalia; some in just a matter of weeks, so the planning, preparation and delivery had to be right. The hard work, commitment and enthusiasm from the team was commendable and the task itself beats any other ADEX I have done hands down. This was important, meaningful training and it was a privilege to teach such a professional, enthusiastic group. We would all jump at the chance of another STTT.”