NORTH SULAWESI (June 8, 2012) Dr. Stuart Whiddon, from the Free Dental Society, prepares six year-old patient Aldi Lakada for oral treatment during a Medical Civic Action Project(MEDCAP) during Pacific Partnership 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Roadell Hickman)

SIAU, INDONESIA - The third Medical Civic Action Project (MEDCAP) conducted during Pacific Partnership 2012’s (PP12) visit to Indonesia came to a successful close on June 10 on the island of Siau.

The five-day Siau MEDCAP was one of seven medical projects the PP12 crew took part in during its two-week stay in Indonesia, providing medical services for thousands of locals.

“We treated patients with the help of the host nation’s physicians and saw a total of 1,745 patients,” said Lt Matthew Hitchcock, officer in charge of MEDCAP 3.

According to Hitchcock, their MEDCAP saw 415 adult patients, 230 pediatric patients, 225 dental patients and 880 eye patients, with the optometry team passing out about 800 pairs of sunglasses and close to 700 prescription glasses.

“One of the big things we had to offer was optometry,” said Hitchcock.

“We were able to screen for eye diseases and also give out prescription glasses to help with vision.”

The dental crew also committed to the task with a full-force effort.

Using a team of two Australians, three non-governmental organizational members from the University of California San Diego Pre-dental Society, two American service members and two translators, the dental professionals extracted hundreds of problem teeth to the relief of their patients.

“We averaged about 50 to 60 patients a day and primarily performed teeth extractions,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Allen, U.S. Navy dentist.

“We did have x-ray capabilities which helped us a lot with the extractions,” said Allen.

“We were able to do an exam on everyone; we were able to do a fluoride treatment on everyone and also performed x-rays on about 40 percent of those we saw.”

The dental team also had a dental hygienist on-hand to perform cleanings and taught general dental hygiene to the patients who attended the MEDCAP.

“They were very grateful for what we were able to do; we had a lot of smiles and a lot of hugs from our patients which was extremely gratifying,” said Allen.

The five-day MEDCAP was an exceptional experience for all who were able to attend.

“It’s great, everyone enjoyed coming out here and helping out however they could, I think everyone had a great time,” said Hitchcock.

“All my physicians said working with the local doctors was the best part, the local doctors taught us way more than we taught them.”

PP12 will take part in similar projects in the upcoming mission ports of Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet event U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.