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TACLOBAN, Philippines - U.S. servicemembers, Philippine servicemembers and Tacloban city health care professionals working collaboratively as part of Pacific Partnership 2019 hosted a community health engagement at Tigbao Diit Elementary School to provide medical services and education to the local community, March 15.
The exchange of knowledge and unity of effort is a critical aspect of Pacific Partnership, which has transitioned its primary focus away from the provision of direct care and toward collective capacity building with the purpose of sharing knowledge and skillsets that will last well after the mission is over.
“The U.S. provider and the Filipino provider sit side-by-side and they work together,” said, Lt. Cmdr. Phontip Eadens, a clinical nurse specialist in critical care. “Sometimes the [brand of] medication that they prescribe is different. But the treatment is still the same.”
Rooms across the school campus were used as examination rooms, allowing patients to seek pediatric, family medicine, optometry, veterinary and dental services. While more than 400 patients received care, many providers were able to benefit from exchange of knowledge and experience.
“We're basically building our capability together,” said Cdmr. Adolfo Granados, the medical lead for the team, “By doing this, we increase our interoperability between the Philippines and the United States.”
Pacific Partnership 2019 exchanges create lasting bonds of friendship and trust that enable the mission to return to countries for greater cooperation between the United States, mission partners, and host nations. Strong relationships like these are critical to an effective response to disaster emergencies.
“We can rely on them and they can rely on us,” said Granados, “Once we get to the location [of a disaster], it is going to be chaotic. But once we've built this relationship and we build this partnership, we know how to work together and that's why this is so important.”
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.