In its bid to reduce casualty mortality rate at the point of injury and increase patient survivability during transport, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), in partnership with the Office of Security Cooperation of the United States Department of Defence (OSC US DOD) has trained personnel on Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) as part of a 4-Phased Aerial Patient Movement Programme. The rigorous training, now in its third phase, was conducted at the 063 NAF Hospital, NAF Base Abuja and was aimed at further enhancing the capacity of NAF personnel to provide effective aeromedical evacuation and advanced life support services within Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other Theatres of Operation across the country.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented at the closing ceremony of the third phase of the training, on 6 December 2019, by the Director of Operations Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Idi Lubo, stated that the training was also aimed at developing the NAF’s capacity in Flight Medicine and Aerial Movement whilst improving interoperability with ground troops in various theatres. He said it was also a part of the NAF’s efforts to enhance the capacity of its medical personnel to be more effective and efficient in the performance of their duties. According to him, "the NAF has embarked on massive upgrading of NAF Medical facilities across the country, in addition, medical personnel have been enlisted and recruited into the Service to man these facilities. To enhance professional performance of the personnel, they undergo robust and result oriented training; one of such programmes is the Aerial Patient Movement Training", he said. The CAS therefore urged the participants to make the most of the training with a view to applying the knowledge gained to save lives, thereby boosting troops’ morale.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Medical Services, who was represented by the Director Clinical Services, Air Commodore Adedoyin Oyenusi, stated that the CAS had paid significant attention to the general welfare of NAF personnel through several strategies, including the upgrading of NAF Medical facilities across the country as well as the enhancement of the quality of healthcare services provided to personnel and their families. He disclosed that the Aerial Patient Movement Training has helped to increase the pool of NAF medical personnel available for medical evacuation missions.
During the training, the 45 participants, drawn from both NAF and the Nigerian Army, acquired lifesaving first-aid skills in addition to familiarizing themselves with techniques to properly load patients on helicopters and care for them in-flight. NAF helicopter pilots were also trained by US instructors on how to effectively plan and execute CASEVAC missions. Highlights of the closing ceremony included practical demonstration of CASEVAC of injured troops using a NAF EC-135 Helicopter as well as presentation of certificates to all participants and presentation of awards to participants who distinguished themselves on the course.