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Soldiers to receive education on UN emergency first aid before dispatch overseas

On the anniversary of 30 years in PKO, overall systems are expected to improve to increase contributions to PKO

Initiatives were selected to improve human resources, facilities, equipment, and organizations

Enhancement of service conditions to be reflected in the mid-term defense plan

Commissioned operation of barracks restaurants and implementation of smart camps

Soldiers to receive education on UN emergency firs

On the 30th anniversary of Korea’s participation in UNPKO, the military will substantially improve the overall system for units dispatched overseas from recruitment to education and service conditions, thereby making a contribution to PKO and further enhancing the status of Korea in the international community.


Armed Forces Medical School announced on January 3 that “in order to strengthen medical capabilities of the UNPKO mission, the Buddy First Aid course (BFA, first aid delivered by fellow troopers), a UN certified standard first aid education will be provided for soldiers to be dispatched on January 1920 for the first time.”


The core of the BFA course is to understand the UN medical evacuation system established at UNPKO missions and cultivate an ability to make first aid designed by the UN and manage casualties. Previously, Korean soldiers received further education at Armed Forces Medical School before being dispatched, in addition to the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) skills they had acquired at the military, and it was sufficient to treat casualties during PKO.


However, the operational environment facing UN peacekeepers has become more complicated and dangerous than before. A transnational public health crisis like COVID-19, which was totally unexpected, is one example. In this respect, the BFA course helps soldiers cultivate the ability to use the UN medical evacuation system during emergencies and strengthens interoperability with units dispatched from other countries.


The two-day BFA course will be provided by Army Captain Jeong Ju-hee, Armed Forces Medical School, who acquired a Master Trainer qualification at the Pirbright Institute in the UK, and Army Sergeant Hong Seong-rok. The course encompasses content necessary to serve as UNPKO personnel, such as understanding the UN medical evacuation system, accident assessment, tasks related to massive bleeding, airway, respiration, and circulation, core skills practice, and assessment of research and lectures. Upon completion of the course, trainees will receive official certificates from the UN.


Colonel Lee Jae-hyeok, president of Armed Forces Medical School, said “Diversified, specialized and practical education will contribute to the maintenance of combat readiness of dispatched soldiers, and we will do our best to ensure that this BFA course contributes to the maintenance and preservation of the combat power of dispatched unit soldiers and to world peace.”


The Ministry of National Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff are also considering improvement. They are developing four PKO improvement initiatives in four categories: human resources, facilities, equipment, and organizations. To remove mannerisms caused by repeated dispatches of specific units like the Hanbit Unit in South Sudan and send quality manpower, consideration is being made in many areas.


In particular, to ensure that this measure does not end up as a temporary improvement, the expansion of PKO missions and roles by units will be reviewed in relation to the mid-term defense plan and conditions for mission performance will be improved.


Among the areas being considered for improvement, barracks restaurants for the Dongmyeong Unit are to be converted to commissioned operation by a private company. For the Hanbit Unit, a smart camp project will be implemented. The smart camp model is one of the commitments proposed by Korea in the fourth UN Peacekeeping Ministerial. It is aimed to build an integrated control system for sharing country data on a real-time basis in the control room of PKO missions, and to support the decision making of the missions with the analysis of situations monitored by artificial intelligence (AI).


A military official said, “Improvement plans will be concretized through regular implementation assessment meetings and work-level discussions.”

By Chae-Mu, Im < >

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