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How do we fight COVID-19? Military medical actions in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic in France
  1. Pierre Pasquier1,2,
  2. A Luft3,
  3. J Gillard3,
  4. M Boutonnet1,2,
  5. C Vallet4,
  6. J-M Pontier5,
  7. S Duron-Martinaud3,
  8. A Dia6,
  9. L Puyeo7,
  10. F Debrus7,
  11. B Prunet2,8,
  12. S Beaume9,
  13. G de Saint Maurice2,10,
  14. E Meaudre2,11,
  15. C Ficko2,12,
  16. A Merens2,12,
  17. G Raharisson3,
  18. B Conte13,
  19. F Dorandeu2,14,
  20. F Canini2,14,
  21. R Michel2,15,
  22. S Ausset2,15 and
  23. J Escarment2,16
  1. 1 Percy Military Training Hospital, French Military Health Service, Clamart, France
  2. 2 Ecole du Val-de-Grâce French Military Medical Academy, Paris, France
  3. 3 Direction Centrale du Service de Santé des Armées, Paris, France
  4. 4 Service Médical de la Force d'Action Navale, French Military Health Service, Toulon, France
  5. 5 Cephismer, Centre d'Expertise Plongée pour la Marine Nationale, French Military Health Service, Toulon, France
  6. 6 Centre d'épidémiologie et de Santé Publique des Armées, French Military Health Service, Marseille, France
  7. 7 Direction de la Médecine des forces, French Military Health Service, Tours, France
  8. 8 Emergency Department, Brigade de Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris, Paris, France
  9. 9 Bataillon des Marins-Pompiers de Marseille, French Military Health Service, Marseille, France
  10. 10 Legouest Military Training Hospital, French Military Health Service, Metz, France
  11. 11 Sainte-Anne Military Training Hospital, French Military Health Service, Toulon, France
  12. 12 Bégin Military Training Hospital, French Military Health Service, Saint-Mandé, France
  13. 13 Direction des approvisionnements en produits de santé des armées, French Military Health Service, Orléans, France
  14. 14 Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, French Military Health Service, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France
  15. 15 Écoles Militaires de Santé, French Military Health Service, Lyon-Bron, France
  16. 16 French Military Health Service, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Prof Pierre Pasquier, Percy military training hospital, French Military Health Service, Clamart 92140, France; pasquier9606{at}


We are at war’, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on 16 March 2020. As part of this national effort, the French Military Medical Service (FMMS) is committed to the fight against COVID-19. This original report aimed to describe and detail actions that the FMMS has carried out in the nationwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in France, as well as overseas. Experts in the field reported major actions conducted by the FMMS during the COVID-19 pandemic in France. In just few weeks, the FMMS developed ad hoc medical capabilities to support national health authorities. It additionally developed adaptive, collective en route care via aeromedical and naval units and deployed a military intensive care field hospital. A COVID-19 crisis cell coordinated the French Armed Forces health management. The French Military Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health provided all information needed to guide the decision-making process. Medical centres of the French Armed Forces organised the primary care for military patients, with the widespread use of telemedicine. The Paris Fire Brigade and the Marseille Navy Fire Battalion emergency departments ensured prehospital management of patients with COVID-19. The eight French military training hospitals cooperated with civilian regional health agencies. The French military medical supply chain supported all military medical treatment facilities in France as well as overseas, coping with a growing shortage of medical equipment. The French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute performed diagnostics, engaged in multiple research projects, updated the review of the scientific literature on COVID-19 daily and provided expert recommendations on biosafety. Finally, even students of the French military medical academy volunteered to participate in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In conclusion, in an unprecedented medical crisis, the FMMS engaged multiple innovative and adaptive actions, which are still ongoing, in the fight against COVID-19. The collaboration between military and civilian healthcare systems reinforced the shared objective to achieve the goal of ‘saving the greatest number’.

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • public health
  • military
  • France

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  • Contributors PP had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors contributed equally to the study concept and design, acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data literature search, drafting of the manuscript, critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, and administrative, technical or material support.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the French Military Medical Service.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.