Pacific mission enhances health, partnerships

The Australian Defence Force has completed Exercise Pacific Partnership 2015, an annual United States-led humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Over 16 weeks, from 17 May to 8 September, military personnel from Australia, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, Fiji, Timor-Leste and Singapore provided medical care and completed building projects in a number of South-West Pacific and South-East Asian nations.

Deputy Mission Commander for Pacific Partnership 2015, Captain Brian Delamont RAN, said ADF personnel had performed a great job across all tasks in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Fiji and Vietnam.

“As an indication of how rewarding this mission is, we had far more volunteers than we had places available, with people competing to get involved,” CAPT Delamont said.

“We have provided a great spread of pharmaceutical, medical and engineering skills from
Australia’s Army, Navy and Air Force, including some very junior people who have been outstanding among their peers.”

Australia contributed 58 personnel to the exercise from US Navy ships Mercy and Millinocket.

ADF personnel helped treat 22,671 people, including 12,467 medical consultations, 7665 dental examinations, 410 other consults and 4183 pharmaceutical scripts were dispensed.

On board USNS Mercy, ADF specialists assisted in providing 1995 radiological procedures, including tuberculosis screening.

Acting Chief of Joint Operations Major General Shane Caughey said the Navy, Army and Air Force personnel had performed an important role to improve the lives of our South-West Pacific and East Pacific neighbours.

“Our medical personnel ashore and embarked in ships have done an outstanding job to improve the health of people in the region,” he said.

“Aside from the medical program, a key highlight was our engineering personnel completing the construction of two projects at two local primary schools in Arawa, Bougainville, in coordination with our Timor Leste and US military colleagues. This was a satisfying achievement for many of us.

“This cooperative mission allows the ADF to work with partner militaries, inter‑governmental agencies, host nation civilian agencies, and non-government organisations, which enhances our collective ability to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief .”

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