DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (NNS) -- Sailors and embarked international staff deployed with Africa Partnership Station (APS) East 2011, partnered with Tanzanian civilian and military medical professionals for a training and mentorship program in Dar Es Salaam Feb. 7 through Mar. 4.
The partnership included training in tactical combat casualty treatment, biomedical repair training, midwife training and a mentorship program to build capacity and foster relationships between U.S. and Tanzanian medical personnel.
Chief Hospital Corpsman Blake Cooper, sixth fleet medical planner, explained that the program will help provide foundation for future cooperation between U.S. and Tanzanian forces.
"Eighty percent of the patients in the military hospitals in Tanzania are civilians," said Cooper. "While this training built capacity for the military, it has also provided a benefit to the Tanzanian people. That gives us a baseline of trust to build our relationships on."
Cooper commented on how the opportunity to build relationships has been one of the biggest advantages of APS.
"This program isn't one-sided," said Cooper. "We learn from them and they learn from us; to accomplish that we have to keep the lines of communication open. The personal relationships we make here go a long way, and the friendships that evolve carry on for years."
After the first week of training at the Tanzanian Naval Training School, the medical programs traveled to Luongo Military Hospital to work with personnel on-site with real patients and machinery.
"The Tanzanian people care about their patients as much as any doctor in the states," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Mashaun Brown, ultrasound and radiographic repair instructor. "It has been great to come over and see how dedicated and resourceful the personnel are."
Tanzanian navy Maj. MJ Mwakalikene, a dentist at Luongo Military Hospital, said the relationships between U.S. and Tanzanian personnel have been very good.
"The exchange of information between U.S. and Tanzania is vital," said Mwakalikene. "There is much we can learn from each other, but we must communicate. I hope we can build more infrastructure to allow continued growth of this program."
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities, in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.