CAMP TONDIBIAH, Niger — A team of Air Force Reserve medical specialist arrived in Niamey Friday and quickly set up shop at Camp Tondibiah's medical clinic readying the clinic for patients Monday morning.
The 12-person medical team deployed alongside the U.S. Marine Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative Mobile Training Team to Camp Tondibiah, located outside Niamey, the African nation's capital. The Air Force Reserve Command contingent is composed of volunteers from 11 different units and included dentistry, optometry and general medicine.
The Marines are working in Niger under the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative or TSCTI, formerly known as the Pan-Sahel Initiative, training the Nigerien military to maintain a rapid reaction force, while the medical team will be treating the civilian population in the local area.
The team will be in the country for just more than two weeks and will be providing healthcare for the residents of the surrounding eight villages.
"All medical team members that are here in Niger volunteered to be a part of this humanitarian mission," said Maj. Melissa Triche, Air Force Reserve Command, medical planner. "They're taking time away from their families and civilian jobs to provide top-notch medical care to the local population. Everyone is looking forward to this unique opportunity to touch as many lives as possible in the short period of time they're here."
This is the second medical mission executed in this area of responsibility with collaborative efforts of the International Health Specialist programs at Air Force Reserve Command, European Command, and United States Air Force Europe.
"The IHS Program strives to build medical bridges and expand the medical capabilities of their reservist," said Tech. Sgt. Rey Garcia, NCOIC of HIS program at AFRC, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "Its missions such as this one that prepares our medics for future engagements in regards to readiness, cultural, and international experience throughout the world.
"You can train and prepare day in and day out at home station, but being immersed in the country gives you a good vector check of how well prepared you are to deploy in a foreign country."