Delivering medical support in austere environments
Today’s operational landscape places extreme demands on medical capabilities. The operational brief is broad; medical teams must be ready to deploy to diverse and challenging theatres, to treat casualties of such crises as asymmetrical warfare, refugee displacement and contagious disease. These varied objectives pose major difficulties for care delivery, training and equipment supply. Medical Support Operations 2017 will therefore welcome medical personnel from the military, NGOs and international organisations, together with industry, to debate how best to meet the changing requirements of expeditionary medical care.
Austere environments are uniquely complex. The lack of a major forward operating base, basic infrastructure or the support of the local community all demand a rigorous medical framework. Teams must deploy quickly and self-sufficiently, minimising their dependence on external equipment whilst securing the resupply of precious resources like blood. Civilian and military personnel must collaborate, pooling skills and resources to enhance the level of treatment. Personnel must be trained to deal with new threats to health at minimum risk to themselves, and technology must be leveraged to maximise the sophistication of in-theatre trauma care.
Foreign operations are not the only concern. The threat of global terrorism emphasises that the medical capabilities of armed forces must be ready to combat crises within their own territories, delivering medical care in support of the civilian healthcare framework. The challenges then, are many. Medical Support Operations 2017 will be a unique opportunity for military and NGOs to work towards greater coordination, discovering the solutions capable of supporting the delivery of rapid, cost-efficient and targeted medical care.