Posts Categorized: Pacific Partnership

Pacific Partnership delivers training and healthcare to Arawa

By Wallace Tevu Tenasi


The people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville had the privilege of receiving some of the best quality health care services available with the visit of the United States Navy Ship Mercy (T-AH 19).

USNS Mercy is a U.S. Navy floating hospital which visited the evergreen island of Bougainville to provide free healthcare services to its people as part of the Pacific Partnership program.

Mercy is a converted San Clemente-super tanker with a length of 894 feet, a105 foot beam and can carry up to 1,214 medical personnel at full operation status, though currently carries considerably less in its Reduced Operating Status.

It can provide full hospital capabilities and services including surgery, radiology, optometry, dermatology, physical therapy, dialysis, a pharmacy, a blood bank and dentistry.

It was the second port in the Pacific region the crew visited in 2015 after going to Fiji earlier this year.

From 29 June until 3 July this year the little Square within Arawa District Hospital became packed with people seeking medical help from the medical personnel who arrived in Bougainville aboard the Mercy.


Medical doctors, nurses, midwives and other professionals were a big help to the people.

Services provided included eye care, dental, surgical, pharmacy and also mechanics who fixed up faulty hospital machinery.

All surgical patients were taken on-board Mercy for operations.

With just a few days to cover, more than 10,000 people in need of medical help were seen during this one week visit.

The people of Bougainville are very appreciative of the free healthcare provided by the Mercy team.618-mercy-kieta-harbor

A relative of a 45 year old female who lived with goitre for nearly 15 years was overjoyed seeing their mother back from the Naval Hospital Operating Theatre with the goitre finally removed.

“Thank you very much US Medical Team for helping our mom get rid of the goitre,” she said.

“You did so much through these few days.”

The Arawa Hospital staff had the chance to attend in-house training to boost their work performance.

Assistance was also given by the Health Centre staff and a few from Buka General Hospital.

Mr Iggy Shirau Giranah, the Acting Matron in Arawa Hospital, expressed his gratitude for the visit of the Mercy team.

“I am pleased that my staff had the chance of acquiring skill that could have cost them much, thank you very much US Naval Team,” Mr Giranah said.

The week ended with a tour of the Mercy for the Arawa District Hospital staff.

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New Tupukas classroom dedicated to fallen WWII hero

A new classroom at Tupukas Primary School has been named in honour of Elmer Carruthers Jr, who was killed during the Bougainville Campaign of World War II.

Carruthers was post-humously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his selfless actions during WWII that saved the life of many of his fellow soldiers.

The classroom, which was officially opened last Wednesday, was constructed by a team from the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, Australian, and Timor Leste military.

As well as a place for the education of local children, the classroom will act as an shelter for people in the region to gather in times of emergency or natural disaster.

The classroom is a welcome addition at Tupukas Primary School, which has recently seen an explosion in student numbers to nearly 500, from below 300 in recent times.

The construction of the classrooms came as part of the Pacific Partnership project.

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US Navy treats injured from Carterets boat accident

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Andersen, Pacific Partnership 2015 Public Affairs

ARAWA, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (NNS) — The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sent an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter on a critical care patient transport mission June 30 to retrieve six injured people, including an 18-month old infant, from Han Island, a small land mass off the coast of Carteret Island in Papua New Guinea.

Mercy received all six patients who were immediately provided medical care.

“All patients are currently in good condition,” said Capt. Melanie Merrick, the commanding officer of the military treatment facility USNS Mercy.

The Deputy Chief Secretary of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, contacted the U.S. embassy in Port Moresby to request assistance transporting the civilians, who were survivors of a small vessel reported lost at sea June 27.

The Mission Commander of Pacific Partnership 2015, Capt. Chris Engdahl, directed his maritime operations center aboard Mercy to launch one of its helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 to pick up the injured and transport them to the ship for immediate care.

The injured had swam ashore after being lost at sea June 27. On that same day, Mercy received a request for search and rescue support from the Chief Secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) through the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby. The ABG reported a small boat missing at sea along with several passengers, one of whom was an infant. The boat had been in transit from Buka to Carteret Island.

In response, Mercy launched two helicopters, both with Navy search and rescue swimmers on board, to search the area, but they were unable to locate the boat or any survivors.

Of the passengers on board, six were able to swim to shore including a mother and her 18-month-old infant. The other remaining passengers remain unaccounted for, but a search operation continues led by the Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority.

Mercy is currently in Papua New Guinea for its second mission port of Pacific Partnership 2015. Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and 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 real world medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Critical infrastructure development has been supported in host nations during more than 180 engineering projects.

Additional information on the Pacific Partnership mission is available on the U.S. Pacific fleet Pacific Partnership website at .

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Pacific Partnership team arrives for humanitarian exercise

U.S. Embassy, Port Moresby

United States Navy Engineering and Medical Officers arrived in Bougainville on 20 June to conduct advance planning and patient registration in preparation for the visit of USNS Mercy hospital ship in Arawa on 27 June – 4 July.

While in Bougainville, Pacific Partnership will conduct dental and surgical operations, hold health and anti-Gender Based Violence exercises, conduct veterinarian care, and refurbish two local schools.

The U.S. led Pacific Partnership mission includes personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste, Philippines, and Japan.

Advance planning has already taken place in Rabaul, which will receive USNS Mercy on 6 – 10 July.

Pacific Partnership was founded to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster resilience to Pacific nations following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The global response to the 2004 tsunami and the widespread goodwill and cooperation that resulted formed the genesis of Pacific Partnership’s mission to proactively build disaster response capacity. Besides providing medical and humanitarian assistance, Pacific Partnership’s overarching goal is to improve the effectiveness of the region’s military forces, governments, and humanitarian organizations during disaster relief operations.

Pacific Island host nations for 2015 are: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Kiribati. Pacific Partnership 2015 activities may range from medical, dental, and veterinarian care to construction projects and crisis response training.

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