CAIRO (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.3 (NAMRU-3) celebrated 65 years of service in infectious disease research in Egypt Oct 20.
An event celebrating the anniversary was held at the NAMRU-3 facility with a host of guest speakers from Naval Medical Research Center), the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the U.S. Embassy and the World Health Organization.
Navy Medicine established a presence in Egypt in 1942 as part of the U.S. Typhus Commission tasked with reducing the impact of a typhus epidemic among troops and refugees during World War II. The success of this collaboration between the Navy and the government of Egypt led to the formal establishment of NAMRU-3 in 1946 to continue scientific partnership in infectious disease research.
"Navy Medicine's doctors, nurses, dentists, and medical service corps officers are dedicated to preserving and promoting health and wellness around the world," said Capt. Robin Wilkening, commanding officer, NAMRU-3. "One of the ways Navy Medicine achieves these goals is through the work of its overseas medical research laboratories. Of these, there is none with a prouder history or more impressive list of accomplishments than NAMRU-3."
In the beginning researchers focused on activities in Egypt and neighboring countries, but in recent years they have expanded activities in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. NAMRU-3 personnel and scientists routinely collaborate with regional research groups in the fields of disease surveillance, vaccine development and vector control for tropical diseases. They also train local scientists in areas of medical research and dealing with public health challenges.
H.E. Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Egypt, thanked NAMRU-3 for the command's commitment to Egypt. She said NAMRU-3 has continued to exemplify the best in collegial partnerships as it strives to counter infectious disease threats in Egypt, the eastern Mediterranean region and afar, with the help of the Egyptian government and its people.
According to Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, medicine builds bridges, builds trust and fosters cooperation.
"While the initial mission of the command was to maintain the health of deployed U.S. service men, NAMRU-3 has become an integral part of the public health system in Africa and across the Middle East," said Robinson. "The work NAMRU-3 is doing is critical because by helping those in need around the world, the United States not only helps bolster stability but also works to create conditions of hope, which are the foundations of healthy societies," said Robinson.
The lab is currently supporting force health protection in the Horn of Africa; working closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and WHO; helping Djibouti with disease surveillance; responding to disease outbreak in Yemen; fighting malaria in Liberia, conducting joint research with Ghana, and studying diseases in the Republic of Georgia.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.