"From project award to reaching full operating capability, Iqarus identified, validated, prepared and deployed a damage control surgical team ready to deliver the required DCS capability in 21 days." Dai Jones, Director of Operations, Global Health Services, Iqarus.

Background

In April 2013, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, (MINUSMA). The Swedish contingent of the force consists of an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance task force (ISR TF), a tactical airlift detachment and a national support unit. Approximately 310 persons from Sweden are participating. The ISR TF's mission is to support MINUSMA to achieve the Security Council mandate. The operating environment presented within Mali is complex and demanding. To provide the required level of medical care to deployed troops, Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) established a Level 1+ Hospital (with surgical capabilities) in Mali as a key component in the patient care pathway.

In May 2017, SwAF selected International SOS to provide the core of the Damage Control Surgery (DCS) Team to integrate with its military clinicians operating the Level 1+. Iqarus is the International SOS Group's specialised unit dedicated to providing medical services in the most challenging of operating geographies. As such, it is Iqarus, enabled by the global resources available within the International SOS Group, that is responsible for all on-the-ground medical and operational delivery aspects in Mali.

Challenges

The challenges faced by Iqarus to effectively operate and deploy damage control teams in Mali were:

  • Short delivery turn around to be fully operational, in country, within three weeks from notice to meet the required DCS capability
  • Navigating the administrative requirements of the Malian authorities and meeting governance standards required by the Malian government and UN authorities

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  • Integrating into a military team in a conflict affected region and ensuring the deployed Iqarus DCS team was equipped with the relevant and current skills. It was essential that the Iqarus DCS team was selected on the basis of experience, expertise and current qualifications and that the team understood the intricacies of managing conflict-related trauma in demanding and complex environments.

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Solutions

Iqarus provided immediate mission and medical solutions to meet MINUSMA requirements through:

  • With 21 days from decision to reaching Full Operating Capability (FOC) in Timbuktu, Mali, Iqarus delivered the full team and reserves that were identified, validated, prepared, deployed and ready to deliver the required DCS capability
  • Iqarus leveraged its established and formal presence in Mali to enable and ensure all of the appropriate licensing and other country requirements were put into place rapidly
  • Careful selection and validation of the DCS team was conducted to ensure they could work effectively and positively in the Malian environment
  • Delivered a highly specialised, rapidly deployable DCS team on a sustainable basis that was able to integrate into the Level 1+ and provide effective support immediately upon arrival
  • Provided highly-qualified, multi- disciplinary medical team of experts that met the crucial medical services and capability of MINUSMA.

Outcome

A fully compliant and highly skilled DCS team was deployed, integrated and operational within 21 days of notice, and then sustained on an enduring basis.

Given the volatility of the operating environment around Timbuktu, the DCS team has proven its effectiveness having managed several conflict-related trauma cases.

Iqarus maintains a strong presence in Mali and is currently supporting a range of organisations across the country.

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Iqarus delivers on-the-ground support along the patient care pathway through to DCS, as well as primary health care, medical training and medical supply.

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