U.S. Navy Seabees Begin Work in Indonesia as Part of Pacific Partnership 2010
TERNATE, Indonesia - U.S. Navy Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 from Gulfport, Miss. began renovation of the Puskesmas Kalumpang medical clinic in Ternate, June 21, as part of the Pacific Partnership 2010 engineering civic action program (ENCAP).
This 30-day ENCAP is an effort to restore the medical clinic by installing a new roof, rewiring the entire building, painting and refinishing the walls and window frames, restoring the perimeter fence and barriers, and cleaning up the landscape.
"This has been one of the more rewarding projects I have done to date. The people stop by and watch what we are doing and often show their gratitude,” said Builder 1st Class Anthony Thibodeaux, the project leading petty officer. “Pacific Partnership is about showing the people of the host nation that we really care about them, we are happy to be here and look forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony in the coming weeks.”
Today, members of the local press and other local dignitaries were treated to a walk-through of the clinic to see its progress. “I can’t believe that this is the same clinic,” said a member of the Ternate press corps. “The people of this village are so excited, and you guys are doing it all by yourself.”
Major Dr. Guruh of the Tentara National Indonesia - Indonesia’s National Armed Forces - and one of the most prominent surgeons in Ternate and renowned throughout Indonesia said, “I hear from the people every day, that the Navy is renovating the clinic and how the village is appreciative of what they are doing.”
The clinic was initially opened in 1970 and was the first clinic in the entire town; currently there are four others in operation. It services about 1,500 people per month and is staffed by three primary and family care physicians and 12 paramedics. However, in the last few years due to building degradation, the clinic’s ability to help the surrounding area was diminished.
This clinic, like most Pacific Partnership exercise work sites that are in need of renovations or related work are co-determined by the host nation government and the exercise leadership. The members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 have been working 10 hours per day. The renovations will affect over 1,500 patients per month providing them with a clean and safe environment to conduct its services to the community.
"We are excited to help the people of Ternate. It is inspirational to have the kids be our audience every day we are out there, they come from all over the neighborhood to watch us,” said Builder 2nd Class Jason McWaters. “And the fact that we are renovating their local clinic is the best part of all, these kids will have more access to healthcare than they did before.”
The engineering project is part of Pacific Partnership 2010, the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet endeavors aimed at strengthening regional partnerships and increasing interoperability with U.S. interagency, host nations, partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.
So far, Pacific Partnership 2010 has included visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.