As the Philippine phase of Pacific Partnership 2022 concluded, members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contingent farewelled the United States hospital ship USNS Mercy.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy Gender, Peace and Security Adviser Lieutenant Vicky Nguyen, left, during the Pacific Partnership 2022 closing ceremony in Palawan, Philippines. Story by Captain Sarah Kelly. Photo by Corporal Brandon Grey.
Over the past three weeks medical personnel from all three ADF services were integrated into multinational teams, providing a range of specialised medical services such as dentistry, optometry, gynaecology, cryotherapy, and first-aid education.
Lead health planner Army nursing officer Major Jane Barnes said interoperability between partner nations had been enhanced.
“It’s been a really great experience working with partner nations as part of Pacific Partnership 2022,” Major Barnes said.
“We’ve been able to share experiences and also learn off each other, so it’s been really valuable.
“We’ve been able to physically work side-by-side and actually see processes and procedures happening in real-time.”
Major Barnes said ADF medical personnel also participated 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.”
More than 2067 patients were treated by ADF medical personnel during the three-week mission, with 600 first-aid training sessions delivered and 430 dental procedures conducted.
Royal Australian Navy Band members and an ADF-led Gender, Peace and Security team conducted a series of performances, presentations and community engagement events across the province of Palawan. ADF Band members also participated in more than 30 performances.
Australian contingent commander Major Andy Carroll-Keays said the deployment was mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
“I am immensely proud of our contribution to what has been a truly rewarding Pacific Partnership mission here in the Philippines,” he said.
ADF participation in Pacific Partnership demonstrates a commitment to enhancing security cooperation and fostering enduring partnerships, trust and interoperability between nations in the Indo-Pacific region.