Today, World Pharmacist Day, spare a thought for the sole operator across the Middle East region.
Lieutenant Amanda Dreger is the pharmacist supporting joint operations in the Middle East from the ADF’s main operating base in the region.
She provides medical and dental consumables to more than 540 personnel from Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as contractors and Australian government employees.
Deployed from Lavarack Barracks in Townsville on Operation Accordion for six months, Lieutenant Dreger is also responsible for the pharmacy dispensary in the Health Centre at Camp Baird.
“The role of the pharmacist in the Middle East is primarily logistics, stock procurement and warehousing,” Lieutenant Dreger said.
“One of the big trials on this deployment has been COVID-19 – things are quite different to Australia here.
“Being in the medical system during a pandemic has been challenging but a good learning curve.”
Joining the Army in 2016 during her studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Lieutenant Dreger has always had the goal to deploy on operations overseas.
“I was lucky to have the ADF subsidise my degree,” Lieutenant Dreger said.
“Then after graduating I undertook an intern year at Townsville Hospital before starting full-time in the Army in 2019.
“It’s quite challenging and competitive to be chosen for a deployment.”
The most enjoyable part of the experience is the networking, according to Lieutenant Dreger.
“There’s so many different people here – I get to talk to Army colleagues, but also those in the other two services,” Lieutenant Dreger said.
“Operating in a joint environment and seeing how we can all work together efficiently, despite significant roadblocks like COVID-19, has been rewarding.
“It’s hard being away from family but I’ve made so many friends here.
“I’m learning things about the ADF that I would never have been exposed to if it weren’t for this trip.”