By Nathan Etengu
The UPDF and US military personnel have launched a two-week joint humanitarian exercise in Soroti district.
The exercise launched on Wednesday included free medical care and engineering civic assistance projects.
It was part of a multi-lateral exercise involving military personnel from the East African Community nations, US-based units and a combined taskforce from the Horn of Africa.
The major exercise is being held in Baringo district, Kenya, while the humanitarian exercises will be in Soroti and Bagamoyo, Tanzania.
Col. William Walters, a general surgeon from the US military, headed the medical team that offered free health services in Soroti, while Major Christopher Achelam of the UPDF construction department led the team that was to carry out renovation on the health units at Serere health centre IV, Asuret sub-county health centre and the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council health centre in Soroti town.
UPDF spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye said the humanitarian exercise was part of a major joint disaster response training programme undertaken by the armies of the three East African countries in conjunction with the US military in Baringo.
â€œWe are simulating a scenario where a disaster occurs and the army is called in to offer humanitarian assistance as provided for in Article 209 of the Constitution,â€ he said.
He said 130 UPDF officers and men and 29 officers, engineers, doctors, nurses and technicians from the US military participated in the exercise in which patients with various ailments were attended to.
â€œMore than 500 patients were attended to and given treatment on the first day of the exercise.
However, the number of people who have now turned up for treatment is much bigger than what we handled on the first day,â€ Kulayigye said.
He said the exercise would be crowned with a â€œdistinguished visitorsâ€™ dayâ€ at Serere health unit on August 16.
â€œWe expect the commander of the UPDF land forces, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa, admiral Richard Hunt, to grace the occasion,â€ he said.