Nato-Russia Council

Experts develop military medical cooperation in 2013

NATO-Russia Council Military Medicine Royal Navy Afloat Medical Emergency during Mediterranean exerciseRoyal Navy doctors performing emergency medical care at sea during an exercise. UK Ministry of Defence image.

Cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council on military medicine has risen sharply since 2010. The increase in cooperative military medical activities reflects how today multinational military operations are increasingly the norm, and sharing resources to make the most efficient use of materials and personal is vital. To do this however, higher levels of interoperability are needed, in particular, to ensure that medical teams can work together to support the military’s health and medical requirements.

This is why cooperation on Military Medicine through the NATO-Russia Council is focused on delivering concrete results. The ultimate aim is to enhance interoperability in this field so that NRC nations’ military medical teams can match the current nature and demands of ongoing multinational missions around the world.

In this context, 2013 has been a particularly busy and productive year for Military Medical cooperation. Cooperative activities have been held through the NATO-Russia Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Logistics as well as the NRC Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Committee which has greatly developed their Telemedicine initiative.

A second advanced research workshop on Telemedicine was held in Moscow, co-chaired by Romanian Secretary of State for Health Dr. Raed Arafat, the workshop covered the topic of “Telemedicine in Crisis management” and was the next step towards establishing a multinational response whenever and wherever disaster strikes. The project aims to create a multinational capability for providing access to expert medical assistance using modern telecommunications technology for patients caught up in disasters, civil emergencies or even warzones. The initiative was launched through the Council in 2010 and the NRC’s SPS committee is now looking at ways to expand the project in the coming years.

Six NRC Military Medical activities have taken place in 2013, in Lisbon, St Petersburg, Copenhagen and Brussels with a variety of NATO-Russia Council nations’ military medical experts participating. Events have ranged from focusing on mutual emergency medical support between ships on operations at sea to aeromedical evacuation.

NATO-Russia Council Military Medicine Aeromedical Evactuation Seminar CopenhagenNATO-Russia Council Military Medical Experts 'group photo at their September 2013 Aeromedical Evacuation Seminar.

Most recently the NATO-Russia Council held a two day activity in Copenhagen, in September, on aeromedical evacuation in combat operations in Afghanistan and in the North Caucasus The event included a seminar for the NATO-Russia Council Military Medical experts present and a live demonstration by the Danish Armed Forces of aeromedical evacuation aircraft and equipment from Germany as well as Denmark, The activity was designed to share experiences on the most current demands on and challenges of NATO-Russia Council nations’ Military Medical services.

This dynamic and relevant work on military medicine is set to continue going forwards. Military Medical experts of the NATO-Russia Council’s Ad-hoc Working Group on Logistics have developed a scheme to increase the number of Military Medical cooperation activities through the Council in the years to come. In November 2013 the Committee of the chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO (COMEDS) and the head of Military Medical Service in Russia agreed that in Spring 2017 COMEDS Plenary could be held in Moscow. This demonstrates fully the current relevance and importance of advancing military medicine for all members of the NATO-Russia Council.

Lieutenant Colonel Birthe Henriksen said of NATO-Russia Council Military Medical Cooperation:

NATO-Russia Council Lieutenant Colonel Birthe Henriksen Lieutenant Colonel Birthe Henriksen

“Cooperation between NATO-Russia Council nations’ military medical services is varied and growing. Now we’re looking forward to organizing an even greater number of Military Medical activities again in 2014. In a climate where multinational missions have become the norm, interoperability is vital. With all the planned and ongoing activities through the NATO-Russia Council, we are working hard to improve the ability of our military medical teams to work together in supporting the medical needs of our troops."