Australian Defence Force (ADF) medical and dental specialists have joined Pacific Partnership 2022 in Puerto Princesa, Philippines.
CAPTION: Australian Army officer Captain Sarah Kelly, public affairs officer, holds a child from the local community at Macarascas Elementary School, Palawan, Philippines. Story by Captain Sarah Kelly. Photo by Corporal Brandon Grey.
The team of eight personnel, together with their counterparts from the United States and the Philippines, will provide specialist medical and dental care at a number of community outreach health fairs in the area.
Australia’s participation in Pacific Partnership is part of its long-standing engagement with the Philippines and the region in security cooperation and humanitarian assistance.
Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region.
The mission focuses on enhancing multilateral cooperation through civil-military collaboration, medical exchanges, and interagency coordination with host and partner nations.
ADF medical personnel will be integrated into teams providing a range of specialised medical services such as dentistry, optometry, gynaecology, cryotherapy, and first aid education.
Royal Australian Navy Nursing Officer Lieutenant Commander Anthony Russell said it has been a rewarding experience so far.
“Filipinos are so welcoming. It has been such a rewarding experience to get to know the people here in Palawan,” Lieutenant Commander Russell said.
“We have been working side-by-side with the local community sharing knowledge and skills on basic primary healthcare, which will help improve their quality of life.”
Australian Army Nursing Officer Major Jane Barnes is the lead ADF Health Planner and said ADF medical personnel are also participating in a series of heath seminars hosted at various local universities and health centres across the Palawan region.
“The seminars are designed to enhance regional interoperability and capability of medical personnel,” Major Barnes said.
“Pacific Partnership has been such a rewarding experience working with our partner nations sharing knowledge and experience through meaningful health engagements.”