The four-day Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange (IPMHE-2021-22) conference, co-hosted by Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) and US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), concluded with the address by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar. Congratulating AFMS and USINDOPACOM for successfully organising the conference despite limitations of a virtual mode, he pointed out the vital role played by a uniformed health professional in providing health care in the most trying circumstances.
The theme of the conference was ‘Military Healthcare in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) World’. The conference, organised to enhance cooperation and jointmanship in military medicine, was virtually inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Delegates discussed, over four days, many important topics including operational/combat medical care, tropical medicine, field surgery, field anaesthesia, aviation & marine medicine emergencies. Over 600 Indian and foreign delegates from more than 38 countries participated.
Stressing on the need to remain updated in all spheres by continued research and training, the Defence Secretary lauded IPMHE for deliberating on diverse topics such as operational & combat medical care, global health security, challenges of COVID-19, military disaster drills and research & innovation in a VUCA world. He expressed hope that the knowledge gained during the conference would help all stakeholders to better plan their contingencies and come up with innovative methods to deal with a VUCA environment. Dr Ajay Kumar assured India’s full support to IPMHE to achieve this objective while commending it for providing a global platform for shared & meaningful learning and addressing contemporary real-time & relevant issues pertaining to military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Dr Ajay Kumar said, the assessment and handling of combat casualties by these health professionals during wars & conflicts has a long-term impact on not just the individual, but also the moral of the troops of the unit and the nation at large.
The last day of the conference saw discussions between Indian and US experts on the role of Artificial intelligence as compared to Clinical Intelligence in the practice of medicine in a VUCA world. Dr Kayvon Modjarrad from the US, whose team developed a novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine based on nanoparticle technology, addressed the audience on various aspects of infectious disease response and future pandemic management.