US civil affairs brings health care to Ghanaian village during African Lion 2024 – DVIDS


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Photo By Sgt. Caitlinn Belcher | U.S. Army Maj. Amber Morton-Chism, public health nurse, U.S. Army Health Clinic… read more read more
Photo By Sgt. Caitlinn Belcher | U.S. Army Maj. Amber Morton-Chism, public health nurse, U.S. Army Health Clinic Vicenza, Italy, gives students deworming medicine at a local elementary school in Damongo, Ghana, May 17, 2024, during a medical civi action program (MEDCAP) during African Lion 2024 (AL24). The MEDCAP provides an opportunity for US and partner nations to build relationships with local communities by providing medical care, treatment and supplies. AL24 marks the 20th anniversary of U.S. Africa Command’s premier joint exercise led by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), running from April 19 to May 31 across Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia, with over 8,100 participants from 27 nations and NATO contingents. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Caitlinn Belcher)  see less | View Image Page
DAMONGO, Ghana — As exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24) unfolds across Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, U.S. Army Soldiers and Marines conducted humanitarian work with lasting impact.

From May 17-18, a civil affairs team from U.S. Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) joined civil affairs personnel from the 4th Civil Affairs Group, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in partnership with the Ghana Armed Forces for a medical civil action program (MEDCAP) in the remote town of Damongo.

The MEDCAP was part of AL24, marking the 20th anniversary of U.S. Africa Command’s largest, annual, combined military exercise focused on enhancing readiness with African partner nations. With over 8,100 participants from 27 countries, the massive exercise integrates contingency operations and humanitarian assistance.

Leading the effort was U.S. Army Maj. Jennifer Stachura, civil affairs team leader, 437th Civil Affairs Battalion, 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, 352nd Civil Affairs Command. Stachura’s team partnered with Ghana’s military to deliver desperately needed health care.

“Our mission strengthened the well-being of an underserved community,” Stachura said. “Combining our expertise with Ghana’s forces allowed us to make a lasting impact.”

At Saint Anne’s Hospital, the local clinic in Damongo, the joint team provided consultations, screenings, treatments and education on hygiene and healthy practices.

As an Army reservist blending military and civilian medical skills, Stachura used her background as a nurse to directly improve lives.

“It was a privilege to use my nursing training for this humanitarian service,” she said.

Damongo residents face high rates of malaria, malnutrition and poor maternal care. For two days, the MEDCAP was a rare source of hope amidst these public health challenges.

“We didn’t just treat symptoms,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. John Hirnyk, civil affairs team chief, 4th Civil Affairs Group (CAG), Force Headquarters Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve. “We empowered the community with tools for healthier lives, sowing seeds of long-term change.”

Joining forces with the SETAF-AF civil affairs team, Marines from the 4th CAG were inspired by the results of the MEDCAP.

“Working alongside the Ghana Armed Forces and our Army counterparts has been an incredible experience,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Aniton, detachment commander, 4th CAG. “The cooperation and shared commitment to improving lives have been truly inspiring.”

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Bisi Akindele, senior healthcare noncommissioned officer, 352nd Civil Affairs Command, added, “Being part of this mission has shown me the profound impact we can have. It’s about building trust and making a real difference.”

A Damongo community leader, who requested anonymity, expressed profound gratitude, saying, “the mission of collaboration devoted to improving lives gives us hope.”


SETAF-AF serves as a dedicated headquarters under U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe & Africa, coordinating Army activities across Africa to provide scalable crisis response options.

For further details on SETAF-AF’s activities, please visit
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