The SA Army division level exercise Vuk’uhlome is underway at the Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Lohathla, Northern Cape, with as per standard operating procedure (SOP), military medics from various disciplines deployed to assist as and if needed.
For the second iteration of the exercise, termed the “Battle of the Brigades” by SA Army corporate communication officers, the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) put elements of 8 Medical Battalion Group on the ground in the Northern Cape province. The military medics are under the operational command of 43 SA Brigade and support exercise “forces” from day-to-day sick parades to specialised intervention by way of a referral system to the next required level of care, known as the “step up approach”.
Major (Dr) Tebogo Seape is the medical officer at the up and operational level 1 field hospital erected, equipped and staffed for Vuk’uhlome. He is reported by Major Siphokazi Dlakamela as saying: “This facility is positioned for management of minor ailments and minor surgeries in accordance with the Military Health Doctrine”.
As with all other SA National Defence Force (SANDF) deployments for the exercise, the SAMHS is using the exercise for training. This sees what the military medical service terms “learner groups” including personnel from the Junior Command and Staff Course (JCSC), medical platoon and warrant officer development courses at CTC for the duration of the exercise.
In addition to the nitty-gritty of Vuk’uhlome – ensuring combat readiness of personnel and equipment – ethos and team building are also in evidence via a range of sporting activities. These range from aerobics, net- and volleyball through to pool and soccer with the nearby Kalahari Country Club in Kathu hosting a golf tournament.