News: Tanzanian, US militaries sharpen medical logistics fundamentals
Story by Staff Sgt. Andrew Caya
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – The Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa medical logistics traveling contact team exchanged best practices with the Tanzanian Peoples’ Defense Force in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Jan. 30 through Feb. 2.
“We went down at the invitation of the TPDF,” said U.S. Navy Commander Dan Patterson CJTF-HOA deputy force surgeon. The team spent five days exchanging ideas with the Tanzanians on U.S. procedures for medical planning and logistics, he said.
Patterson, along with CJTF-HOA medical planner U.S. Air Force Maj. James Mullen, exchanged practices of medical logistics and patient moving procedures with the TPDF.
The U.S. and TPDF service members focused on honing the Tanzanian logistics supervision system, which is different than the American system.
“They don’t have an online management system of any type,” said Patterson. However, “spreadsheets don’t have to be computerized. They have no shortage of manpower to do the work.”
The lack of computerized equipment has had little adverse effect on the Tanzanians as they “knew very much what their supply chain was,” Patterson said.
“I was very happy to hear that they tracked their supplies in a ledger, that they kept track at all of what items were ordered, which were on hand, and which were issued,” said Mullen. “That is fundamental to logistics; it's the basics of an inventory which is a vital part of logistics. So, computers can make things a little easier, and can compute other aspects of an inventory that could help make decisions to improve efficiency and effectiveness, but it all starts with keeping track of what one has so it's good that the TPDF does just that.”
Building on the fundamentals of logistics, the Americans and Tanzanians discussed theories and practices on medical supply, medical warehousing and distribution of goods and services.
“At the end of the course, we had an exercise where we took all the information we touched on and put it into a problem-solving effort,” said Patterson. “Everyone was involved.”
The exchange of ideas and methods was well received by both parties involved, according to the team.
“They were very appreciative, and stated over and over again that they would try to implement the ideas we shared,” said Mullen.