J R Army Med Corps 2019 Apr 20. Epub 2019 Apr 20.
Academic Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK.
Introduction: Diseases and non-battle injuries (DNBIs) are common on UK military deployments, but the collection and analysis of clinically useful data on these remain a challenge. Standard medical returns do not provide adequate clinical information, and clinician-led approaches have been laudable, but not integrated nor standardised nor used long-term. Op TRENTON is a novel UK military humanitarian operation in support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, which included the deployment of UK military level 1 and level 2 medical treatment facilities at Bentiu to provide healthcare for UK and United Nations (UN) personnel.
Methods: A service evaluation of patient consultations and admissions at the UK military level 2 hospital was performed using two data sets collected by the emergency department (ED) and medicine (MED) teams.
Results: Over a three-month (13-week) period, 286 cases were seen, of which 51% were UK troops, 29% were UN civilians and 20% were UN troops. The ED team saw 175 cases (61%) and provided definitive care for 113 (40%), whereas the MED team saw and provided definitive care for 128 cases (45%). Overall, there were 75% with diseases and 25% with non-battle injuries. The most common diagnoses seen by the ED team were musculoskeletal injuries (17%), unidentified non-malarial undifferentiated febrile illness (UNMUFI) (17%), malaria (13%), chemical pneumonitis (13%) and wounds (8%). The most common diagnoses seen by the MED team were acute gastroenteritis (AGE) (56%), UNMUFI (12%) and malaria (9%). AGE was due to viruses (31%), diarrhoeagenic (32%), other bacteria (6%) and protozoa (12%).
Conclusion: Data collection on DNBIs during the initial phase of this deployment was clinically useful and integrated between different departments. However, a standardised, long-term solution that is embedded into deployed healthcare is required. The clinical activity recorded here should be used for planning, training, service development and targeted research.