ADF Medics in Vietnam for Pacific Partnership
24 June 2014
Nine Australian Defence Force personnel embarked in a Japanese Self Defence Force amphibious transport ship have arrived in Vietnam as part of an international humanitarian assistance group serving in the Asia-Pacific region.
The ADF personnel are embarked in the 9,000-tonne Japanese Ship Kunisaki, which is spearheading the United States sponsored Pacific Partnership 14 humanitarian assistance mission to Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines from May 29 to July 19.
The five medical technicians and four support staff from the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force are serving on the Kunisaki for the mission which aims to strengthen disaster relief cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Commander Australian Contingent LTCOL John Cronin said the ADF personnel will seek to enhance Vietnam’s disaster relief preparation by conducting training seminars and work-shops for more than 500 hospital and nursing staff in the port of Da Nang.
“In Da Nang we will conduct health workshops and provide training for medical staff at regional hospitals which will enhance their skill and capacity to provide improved health care,” he said.
The ADF medical specialists include FLTLT Ben James, LEUT Craig Blackburn, and LAC Sean Boller, who are conducting training seminars at the Da Nang General Hospital, the Da Nang Orthopaedics and Rehab Hospital and Military Hospital 17.
At the Da Nang General Hospital they will provide subject matter expert exchanges to enhance the capabilities of local medical providers who deal with more than 2000 patients per day for a range of treatments and issues such as trauma, general illnesses, emergency care, depression and dental care.
The Da Nang Orthopaedics and Rehab Hospital provides extensive services for 20,000 out-patients per year including people injured by explosive remnants of war.
At the 500-bed Military Hospital 17 the ADF medics will conduct specialist training designed to enhance the nursing staff’s military medical evacuation procedures, as well as the treatment of trauma and battlefield wounds.
Pacific Partnership is an important activity for the ADF and Australia is the only partner nation to have participated in every mission since its inception in 2006.
Pacific Partnership was conceived following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami as a way to improve the interoperability of the regions military forces, governments, and humanitarian organisations during disaster relief operations, while providing humanitarian, medical, dental, and engineering assistance to nations of the South East Asian Nations involved, and strengthening relationships and security ties between the nations.
By agreement, the Pacific Partners nations including the US and Japan will abort the planned exercises and support an emergency or natural disaster anywhere it strikes in the Asia-Pacific.
To date, this annual mission has provided substantial medical care to approximately 250,000 patients, veterinary services to more than 37,000 animals, accomplished more than 170 engineering projects, in Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.