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BA'A, Indonesia - Veterinarians from the U.S. Army Reserve shared expertise with Indonesian animal doctors and veterinarian medics during a veterinarian subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) in Ba'a, Indonesia, June 2-5.
The SMEE was one of several in Rote Ndao that saw service members from the U.S., Singapore, New Zealand and other partner nations work directly with local professionals to exchange knowledge in their respective career fields as part of the annual multilateral humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership 2014.
U.S. Army Maj. Raghavan Sampathkumaran and U.S. Army Capt. Jane Lund began the SMEE at the Dinas Peternakan Rote Ndao veterinarian clinic sharing their knowledge with local vets on sterility, pre-surgery physical examinations and other fundamentals of veterinarian care.
"We spent some time talking about what their current capabilities were, and we were able to share techniques that we find helpful in our area that they may be able to use here, or a variation of those techniques and be successful with that after we leave for years to come," said Lund, a native of Wausau, Wisconsin, assigned to the 719th Medical Detachment Veterinarian Services.
They covered a wide range of material as the SMEE continued, including proper use of medication and neutering techniques when Tassilo Sandizell, a resident of Boa, Indonesia, visited the clinic with his Rottweiler, Iron, asking if Sampathkumaran and Lund would neuter him.
"One of the things the Indonesians really wanted to learn more about was small animal surgical skills, so it worked out really well we were able to perform that procedure and show them that," said Sampathkumaran, a native of Lompoc, California, assigned to the 109th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services.
When the Indonesian vets visited a local farm to learn from a local expert about collecting semen from pigs, Lund borrowed from her prior civil affairs experience by comparing techniques with the expert and having him lead the instruction, working directly with his countrymen on cattle artificial insemination techniques. This was an example of how the SMEE took a new and improved approach from the traditional veterinarian civic action projects (VETCAP) previously done on these missions.
Sampathkumaran said he and Lund kept the mission's focus on transferring knowledge and providing a lasting benefit to the Indonesians, as opposed to the short-term help typically provided at VETCAPs. Indonesian animal doctor Astri Juliadi, who was participating in her first Pacific Partnership, said the dog surgery was the most useful part of the training for her, as she hadn't done that procedure in some time.
"It's a little difficult to do our job here with the lack of resources and equipment, but this has been very helpful," said Juliadi, who got hands-on training on suturing and pre-surgery physical examinations. "Pacific Partnership has been a great opportunity; we have learned a lot of new things. It's wonderful that the Americans came to Rote."
Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.