The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
UNDER the leadership of the Australian Defence Force, members of Pacific Partnership 2013 ended work on July 6.
The mission team included members from Australia, Japan, the United States of America and Papua New Guinea.
The mission marked the first time since the Pacific Partnership was initiated by the US in 2006 that a portion of the mission had been led by a partner nation.
For 18 days, Australian, Japanese and US providers worked together in PNG to administer medical and dental care, health education, medical training for local healthcare workers and veterinary care.
The group was involved in engineering projects such as refurbishing schools and public facilities and community relations activities, such as book donations.
US Navy Commodore Wallace Lovely, Pacific Partnership 2013 overall mission commander, visited Vanimo to assess the PNG phase of the mission.
“What I saw was a community that was very receptive to capacity building and learning,” he said.
“I think the mission in Papua New Guinea was a resounding success.”
While in Wewak and Vanimo, the Pacific Partnership 2013 team interacted with more than 4,900 citizens at health expos, treated 2,032 patients, provided dental screening and treatment to 2,141 patients, spent 1,803 hours at hospitals with health practitioners and worked 18,000 hours completing engineering projects at 10 schools.
US ambassador Walter North said that “under President Barack Obama’s leadership, we have made a commitment to working in close cooperation with allies like Japan and Australia to demonstrate in a more significant way our concern for and our engagement with the nations of the Pacific”.