"Iqarus maintains a strong presence in Mali and is currently supporting a range of organisations across the country. Iqarus delivers on the ground support along the patient care pathway through to damage control surgery, as well as primary health care, medical training and medical supply." Andrew Shepherd, Operations Manager, Africa, Global Health Services, Iqarus.

Background

The first mandate for the EUTM-Mali was established in February 2013. It was tasked with providing training support to the Malian Armed Forces.

In 2017, the EUTM-M refined its approach to the provision of training to the Malian Armed Forces by implementing a de-centralised training concept, aimed at delivering greater reach and impact. With the Mission's staff deployed considerable distances from its in- place medical support, it required a deployable medical capability to ensure accepted clinical timelines could be met within the overall patient care pathway.

To meet this requirement, the Mission contracted for the provision of a turnkey Damage Control Surgery (DCS) capability to integrate into the wider EUTM-M medical system.

Iqarus is the International SOS Group's specialised unit that is dedicated to providing medical services in the most complex and demanding of operating geographies - physical, political, cultural and environmental. As such, it is Iqarus, enabled by the global resources available within the International SOS Group, that is directly responsible for on the ground medical and operational delivery aspects for the EUTM-M.

Challenges

Some of the challenges faced by Iqarus in support of the EUTM in Mali were:

  • Developing a European Standard and turnkey DCS capability with the resilience and flexibility to be established rapidly anywhere in Mali within days of notice;
  • Delivering a full operating capability in Mali within 6 weeks from decision- making;
  • Navigating the administrative requirements of the Malian authorities, aided by Iqarus’ established and formal presence in Mali, to ensure all of the appropriate licensing and other country requirements were put into place rapidly;

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  • Integrating into a military team in a conflict affected region that required careful selection and validation of the DCS team, ensuring they could work effectively and positively in this environment;
  • Ensuring the deploying DCS team were equipped with the relevant and current skills, selected based on their experience and expertise of managing conflict related trauma.

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Solutions

Iqarus provided the following solutions to deliver the project on time and on budget:

  • Delivered the full DSC team and reserves by identifying validating and preparing all staff within 6 weeks from decision-making;
  • Established a Liaison Officer to work with the EUTM-Mali’s operations teams on the ground;
  • Planned and provided a unique design for the DCS infrastructure, able to operate independently and in the harshest of environmental operating environments - reliability, consistent performance and robustness were key design features;
  • Over a two-year period, work was conducted with the European Defence Agency (EDA) to contribute to the development of new solutions for rapidly deployable and mobile medical facilities to support the EU’s ‘light footprint’ operations. In addition, work was conducted with NATO’s ACO to develop similar concepts. The requirement to develop a mobile and fully integrated DCS solution by Iqarus for the EUTM-Mali brought this research and development work into focus

Outcome

The unique DCS infrastructure was constructed and prepared for movement, and all equipment, medications and consumables were procured simultaneously with the recruitment of the full DSC team.

The component parts of the capability were deployed into Mali over a two-week period, culminating in a demanding on the ground validation exercise to confirm full operating capacity by Iqarus.

A highly-specialised DCS team is able to deploy rapidly and on a sustainable basis to integrate into the Level 1+ and provide effective support immediately on arrival. We can do this because we draw staff from the wider Iqarus and International pool, who are combined experts in operations, quality, logistics, communications, engineering and many other critical support functions. The combination of this effort ensures a resilient and effective DCS capability, wherever and whenever it is needed.

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The EUTM-Mali continues to be supported by a rapidly deployable and flexible DCS capability that has ability to deploy into any location in Mali to provide a European Standard of DCS care to deployed staff.

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