Axe in Congo: Litter Training

by DAVID AXE Kinshasa — Corrupt and impoverished, Congo doesn’t have much in the way of emergency services. Wrecked cars become semi-permanent urban art installations on the side of the road. When fires break out, it can take hours for anyone to respond. MONUSCO, the U.N. peacekeeping force, has been forced to put out some fires for the Congolese.

Colonel Gilbert Kabanda, the Congolese army’s surgeon general, painted a grand picture of U.S.-trained Congolese medics deploying across the country in up to 11 specialized emergency medical companies, shifting easily between combat tasks and mitigating mass-casualty incidents and natural disasters. But it’s more likely that the Congolese medics will wind up just playing EMT in Kinshasa. Kyala Hubert, one of the medics attending the Medflag ’10 training, said he looked forward to applying his new American-taught litter-handling skills … in responding to traffic accidents.

Maybe the U.S. government should have sent a bunch of traffic cops and ambulance drivers, instead of soldiers.