TOBELO, Indonesia - Pacific Partnership 2010 completed its first medical civic action program (MEDCAP) at the Negeri School here July 17 during the first leg of the mission’s Indonesia visit. The medical personnel attached to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) kicked off the MEDCAP by treating approximately 600 patients in the first day alone of operation.
“We saw and treated a wide variety of ailments,” said Cmdr. (Dr.) Bharat Patel, officer-in-charge of the Negeri site. “In optometry, we discovered a lot of cataracts, some of which will require surgery to correct. We also saw a lot of infections, colds, and injuries. In pediatrics, we saw the entire gamut, from inner ear infections to more serious medical conditions.”
The Negeri MEDCAP site differed from previous Pacific Partnership MEDCAP sites in that the patients were highly organized throughout their visit to the clinic. From check-in to discharge, the crowd moved efficiently through the MEDCAP site.
“It was in part due to our streamlined system, and partly due to cultural etiquette,” said Patel. “I have noticed a great respect for elders in the community. Earlier today, a crowd formed at the entrance, and an elderly man spoke up and suddenly a single file line had formed.”
In addition to the MEDCAPs offered by Pacific Partnership, military and civilian medical professionals also offered dental and veterinary civic action programs. Dental personnel were on hand to provide oral care to the local population. This was a unique opportunity for Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Stephanie Agirre, a Reservist stationed in Tucson, Ariz., as this was her first dental civic action program (DENCAP).
“We have done a lot of tooth extractions in the heat today,” said Agirre. “However, this is a great opportunity and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Over the course of the three-day MEDCAP at Negeri, there was subject matter expert exchanges between those embarked aboard Mercy with members of the Ministry of Health, as well as renovations to the school during an engineering civic action program (ENCAP). Those involved in Pacific Partnership 2010 are given the unique opportunity to work by, with, and through the host nation at their invitation. The Negeri site was unique in that there were several programs going on simultaneously.
Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet endeavors conducted in Indonesia as a disaster relief exercise to strengthen regional partnerships between the U.S., partner and host nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.
To date, Pacific Partnership 2010 has included visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia. While in Indonesia, Pacific Partnership will stop in the areas of Tobelo and Morotai, Ternate, and Ambon.