By Cmdr. Steve Kriss, MC, officer in charge, Expeditionary Medical Facility, Djibouti
Expeditionary Medical Facility Djibouti (EMF DJ) is a level II or role II damage control surgical facility which also provides emergency and primary care at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa (CLDJ). EMF DJ opened in 2003 in tents on CLDJ. In 2005, it re-located to its present location in a renovated, antiquated building named after Marine Captain Seth Michaud, a helicopter pilot who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and killed in a friendly fire accident. Although a small, crowded facility, EMF DJ supports dozens of commands, including Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). It’s fairly well-equipped with medical, dental, veterinary and preventive medicine services sufficient to care for most of the healthcare needs of the nearly 5,000 joint military personnel living on Camp Lemonnier. We hope to build a new facility in the next few years.
EMF DJ staff cares for more than 10,000 patients each year, conducts hundreds of food, water and agricultural inspections and supports counter-terrorism, anti-piracy and stability operations throughout East Africa, the Middle East and surrounding areas. By being proactive and with an emphasis in preventive medicine, EMF DJ has prevented disease outbreaks for more than a year, including no cases of malaria and rabies.
Additional programs managed by EMF DJ, with an enormously positive impact on CLDJ and the host nation Republic of Djibouti, are the EMF DJ International Continuing Medical Education (CME) program and medical exchange program with Djiboutian physicians and nurses.
Some of the notable medical cases we have provided care include: pelvis fracture and open femur fracture, mass casualty of heat injuries (13 patients in two hours), mass casualty (seven patients) involving a helicopter crash on the USS Mesa Verde, a jet-ski crash involving a patient that nearly-drowned and fractured their skull, a severe lasmodium falciparum malaria case from Uganda with multi-organ failure, two severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis cases, several eye emergencies, a few myocardial infarctions, sepsis, pneumonia, cellulitis, pneumothorax (spontaneous), multiple appendicitis and several cholecystectomy cases and hundreds of orthopedic cases. Furthermore, EMF DJ initiated several hundred MEDEVACs to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany the past year.
Overall, the mission of EMF DJ is critically-important. Our multiple directorates and departments with physicians, nurses, dentists, healthcare administrators and corpsmen provide high-quality patient care, excellent customer service and support to the warfighters of the Horn of Africa. For those seeking to experience life in East Africa, work with the less fortunate and poor, and develop medical and leadership skills in a joint environment, I encourage you to volunteer for an Individual Augmentation (IA) billet at EMF DJ. You will make a positive impact on the U.S. mission while helping to improve the stability of East Africa.