The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has trained another batch of flight nurses and aircrew in its efforts to further boost the capacity of personnel for the effective and efficient conduct of Aeromedical Evacuation missions to airlift wounded soldiers from various theaters of operation as well as other critical patients to appropriate treatment facilities.
The graduation of the 20 nurses and 4 loadmasters took place at the NAF Base Kaduna on Friday, after 2 weeks of intensive training that involved theoretical and practical sessions at the NAF School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine (NAFSMSAM) Kaduna as well as simulation exercises using the C-130H aircraft, configured for Aeromedical Evacuation.
Specific areas covered during the 2-week training include Aerospace Physiology, Crew Resource Management, Aircrew Complements and Duties, Enplaning and Deplaning Procedures, Infection Control in Aviation, In-flight Patients Care and Aviation Safety, amongst others. The graduation ceremony featured a demonstration where the participants and crew of the NAF C-130H aircraft simulated the care and management of in-flight patients.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Musa Mukhtar, while expressing his satisfaction with the well-executed simulation exercise, noted that the training was in line with one of the Key Drivers of the Vision of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, which focuses on “human capacity development through robust and result-oriented training for enhanced professional performance”. He remarked that the participants had undoubtedly benefited immensely from the training.
He therefore charged them to make good use of what they had learnt to add value to operations as they return to their various units. AVM Mukhtar stressed that they must also be ready to put their new skills to the test in providing services to the Nation, should the NAF be called upon to evacuate critically ill patients, as may be required in furtherance of the NAF’s constitutional role of providing military aid to civil authority.
He seized the opportunity to commend the NAF Medical Services Branch for the steps it had been taking to upgrade the skills of its personnel to meet current and emergency healthcare challenges.
The highlight of the ceremony was the elaborate simulation exercise, which showcased the skills acquired by the participants in evacuating critical patients, in this case COVID-19 patients, from originating medical facility to a destination medical facility whilst ensuring effective communication between both facilities and providing en-route medical care with specialized on-board life support equipment, including patient monitors and ventilators.
The participants were therefore appropriately kitted in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and all personnel as well as the aircraft and surrounding areas were decontaminated at the points of departure and arrival, while the entire area was cordoned off. The exercise also demonstrated the intricate patients’ handover and takeover process as well as the delicate enplaning and deplaning procedure aimed at ensuring optimal care.
Today’s graduation brings to 40 the number of NAF personnel trained for the Aeromedical Evacuation of critical case patients using the C-130H aircraft, with 16 trained just over a month ago. Also present at the event were the Commandant NAFSMSAM as well as other senior NAF officers.