Lt. Anne-Claude Gouy
First published in
SFOR Informer#147, September 12, 2002
If you see a doctor or a veterinarian around you, in the
dining facility, or in the bathroom, don't be scared. On the
contrary, you should be reassured, because all of them work
for the same target: your health. Day by day, they make sure
that there isn't any danger for the soldier's health while
working in the theatre, neither chemical or microbiological,
by controlling everything on a regular basis. But your health
also depends on yourself.
Rajlovac - On Sept. 5, 2002 a small military group made their
way to the post dining facility carrying with them strange
looking boxes. These folks werent the usual customers,
not this time, and they won't be taking away any food in order
to make a picnic.
We've got to be discreet, because when people see us,
they tend to be scared, especially when they see us in the
dining facility. It should be the contrary, said Maj.
Sabine Sauer, German veterinarian. Once a month, a medical
team comes from Rajlovac to take samples and place control
measures on everything we eat, and above all, on the camps
potable water. Controlling water is 80 percent of the job
of the German Field Hospital lab. in Rajlovac. The chemists
and veterinarians take samples, some of these are analyzed
immediately in the kitchen: chlorine, pH, and conductivity.
We make the chemical test here, and take back the other
samples to the lab for bacteriological tests. But before all,
we also have to taste the water as you would taste a wine
or a meal: smell it, look it, appreciate it. explained
Dr. Martin Weber, German chemist. The lab does the microbiological
test in Rajlovac because microbes need time to grow. Concerning
the chimical water test, a gas chromatographic system and
a high pressure liquid system are used to give the data about
1,500 unknown substances. And even though this lab is operational,
some tests are sent to Germany, particularly concerning the
uranium and mercury.
There are a lot of labs in this country, but we can't
rely on their data processing because they often have no Quality
assurance programme, said Sauer.
What a biting
Taking care of the whole military staff also means the dogs.
In the theatre, there are guard dogs, dogs for drug screening,
and explosivedetection dogs. They are under veterinarian control
because they have to go back to their country healthy, and
during their stay, they mustn't transmit any diseases.
The common veterinarian target is to determineany risk
for the soldier. We make a complete biochemistry blood analysis
for each dog before its arrival in the theatre, said
Capt. Florence Calvet, French veterinarian. And before they
leave the theatre, she gives them a visit. Calvet is also
in charge of vehicle disinfection and hygienic control, it's
very difficult because
sanitary statute is very
precarious in the theatre. Military veterinarians also try
to help BiH in establishing a reporting programme by the way
of the Collaborating Centre for Rabies Surveillance and Research,
But the real problem doesn't come from the military dogs,
but from irresponsible persons. In BiH, rabies is still current,
and each cat or little dog you see in the theatre, even in
your camp, could be a carrier, or transmit to you the leptospirose.
Even if they seem so pretty, don't give them food, and
don't touch them. They could be mortal for you and others.
It's difficult not to do it, but it might save some lives,
Nations of SFOR: Germany
SFOR at Work