U.S. Government works with Burundi partners to enhance medical readiness

Representatives from the U.S Embassy-Burundi, 44th Medical Brigade, the 240th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment, and the Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) are collaborating in a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) with their Burundi National Defense Force partners at the Kamenge Military Hospital in Bujumbura, Burundi, April 8-16, 2024.


“These exercises are critical because they open the aperture of our medical teams to the cultural and environmental complexities of humanitarian missions. The program also offers a valuable training venue where our providers and Soldiers can conduct collaborative knowledge exchange with our African partners and increase problem-solving and medical treatment skills in a semi-austere environment.”
By Master Sgt. Dave Thompson U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa Bujumbura, Burundi May 01, 2024
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BUJUMBURA, Burundi - Representatives from the U.S Embassy-Burundi, 44th Medical Brigade, the 240th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment, and U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) are collaborating in a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) with their Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) partners at the Kamenge Military Hospital in Bujumbura, Burundi, April 8-26, 2024.

MEDREX is a program, planned and executed by SETAF-AF, that allows military medical personnel from the U.S. Army and their African partners to exchange medical practices, procedures and techniques that build and strengthen treatment capabilities, resulting in lasting relationships between medical professionals.

Lt. Col. Melissa Hartsell-Riester, chief of clinical operations from the 44th Medical Brigade at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, emphasized the importance of the MEDREX program, stating, “These exercises are critical because they open the aperture of our medical teams to the cultural and environmental complexities of humanitarian missions. The program also offers a valuable training venue where our providers and Soldiers can conduct collaborative knowledge exchange with our African partners and increase problem-solving and medical treatment skills in a semi-austere environment.”

As part of their MEDREX Burundi participation, Hartsell-Riester and three other members of the 20-person U.S. Army medical team, along with a representative from the U.S. Embassy-Burundi’s Office of Security Cooperation, departed Bujumbura on April 8 on a two-day, pre-deployment sight survey (PDSS) at two other clinics in Burundi’s Gitega province.

Hosted by key leaders at BNDF’s 2nd Infantry Division’s Role II clinic and the Kibuye Hope Hospital, the team conducted comprehensive site assessments to determine the medical infrastructure, safety, standard operating procedures and needs of the two facilities in order to lay the groundwork for future MEDREX engagements in fiscal year 2025 and beyond.

The team’s visit with the leaders, and assessments of the clinics, facilitated a robust knowledge exchange and gathering of information. Upon submission of their assessment, SETAF-AF’s surgeon directorate will determine if the clinics are a good fit for future MEDREXs based on Burundi’s needs along with other factors.

This initiative underscores the necessity of partnership cooperation in addressing healthcare challenges through the MEDREX and other U.S. government programs. By partnering with the BNDF and local healthcare institutions, SETAF-AF, U.S. Africa Command’s Army headquarters, aims to pave the way for sustained medical support and humanitarian assistance in the region.

As the world continues to navigate health crises and emergencies, these collaborative endeavors play a pivotal role in ensuring strong readiness and response capabilities with partner nations in Africa.

SETAF-AF provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe & Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis response options in Africa and Europe.

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