News: Mobile military medical services at work in Shared Accord 13
Story by Spc. Taryn Hagerman
BHISHO, South Africa - Shared Accord is a biennial training exercise that promotes cohesion between US and South African military forces during training designed to promote regional relationships, increase capacity and improve cross-training and interoperability.
HCA events provide health services including dental treatment, HIV screening and optometry aid. Another element of HCA is mobile veterinary services including rabies vaccinations and tick treatments, said SAMHS Capt. François Van Huyssteen, a veterinarian with the Military Veterinary Institute.
Members of both militaries worked together to assist the Eastern Cape’s provincial Veterinary Services in administering medications to hundreds of animals.
“No matter where we go, we try to make sure we’re not here to receive credit for the US Army,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dickie Vest, executive officer and veterinarian with the 176th Medical Brigade, 809th Medical Command of Seagoville, Texas. “We’re here to reinforce...the civilian and government-run veterinary services. We’re complementing, supporting and funding programs and procedures they have in place.”
Boy Ngcayishe walked 14 cattle from his nearby home to take advantage of the free vaccines because he said “the medicines are expensive.”
The event made expensive treatments available to Eastern Cape residents at different locations during a five-day period.
“We exceeded expectations,” said Van Huyssteen on the second day of treatment. “It’s not even 10 o’clock, and I think we are close to treating 100 animals.”
This follows a successful first day of treating 860 animals including cattle, sheep, dogs, horses, pigs and donkeys, said U.S. Army Maj. Mike Adams, commander of Able Company, 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion of Fort Stewart, Ga.
Soldiers from Able Company helped with the setup, vaccine preparations and applied some of the tropical parasite treatments to keep the event running smoothly.
During Shared Accord, both militaries worked at improving veterinary skills while learning from one another and HCA’s mobile veterinary services was no exception.
“Anybody can learn from anyone,” said Van Huyssteen. “We definitely learn from each other and can contribute our expertise to these exercises.”