Are the members of the Ground Self-Defense Force deployed to South Sudan for UN peacekeeping operations equipped with adequate medical support in case they are wounded there? With the enactment of the security laws, “rush to the rescue” operations were added to their duties and some officials have pointed out that they will be exposed to increased risk as a result. Under the circumstances, experts are saying that their medical support is insufficient.
About 350 GSDF troops were deployed to South Sudan from November to December of last year under the new mission. This includes about 10 medics, including four medical officers (two for surgery and two for internal medicine).
According to the Defense Ministry, the medical level of the medics deployed there is one, the lowest on a scale of one to four under UN standards. Level four means that medical officers are capable of performing surgical operations. But level one medical officers are only able to perform general medical procedures and minor surgeries. The medical team has artificial respirators and electrocardiographic machines, but the assigned medical officers are unable to handle gunshot wounds so severely wounded SDF members will have to be transported to hospitals of other foreign militaries in the capital of Juba or neighboring Kenya.
“The purpose of the GSDF’s deployment is to improve infrastructure such as roads, and the level of medical service for this purpose required by the UN is one,” said a Defense Ministry official in charge of medical services.
According U.S. military statistics and analysis, about 80% of the war dead since World War II died within 30 minutes of sustaining wounds. (Abridged)