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Pharmacists, Technicians Support Mission Aboard USNS Mercy

10 June 2015

From Lt. Cmdr. Dean Kang, U.S. Navy Pharmacist, Pacific Partnership

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Canadian Army are deployed aboard the hospital ship in support of Pacific Partnership.

SUVA, Fiji - Five pharmacists, one pharmacy practice resident and 15 pharmacy technicians from the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Canadian Army are deployed aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of Pacific Partnership 2015.

The staff spent nearly three weeks preparing the ship's pharmacy to support an anticipated inpatient patient load of 25 surgical and 25 dental cases per day, community health engagements with a possible 500 patients per day, and an outpatient pharmacy for the nearly 1,000 PP15 personnel.

During their first stop in Fiji, the pharmacists met with Dr. Avnil Narayan, of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Amele Lalibuli, from Labasa General Hospital. Among the topics discussed during the subject matter expert exchange sessions were best practices for pharmaceutical inventory management and the integration of clinical pharmacy services into the patient-centered medical home model.

Military treatment facilities within the Department of Defense have taken a progressive approach towards recognizing pharmacists as providers within the healthcare team. Showing partner countries around the world the benefit of provider status will help to improve patient safety and maximize medication management.

Over the course of the next 4 months, the PP15 pharmaceutical staff will also visit Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Vietnam to provide further pharmacy outreach to these host nations and to work together to improve pharmacy practice throughout the globe.

Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions to date have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure development to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.

Pacific Partnership 2015 supporting partners include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Timor Leste, Fiji, and France. Non-governmental organizations also participating are Project Hope, Operation Smile, Latter Day Saints Charities, University of California San Diego, University of Virginia, University of Hawaii, Project Handclasp, and World Vets.

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