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July 5, 2012
MAJ Cameron Jamieson
MEDICAL personnel are at the coalface
of a humanitarian relief effort after
Pacific Partnership 2012 arrived in the
Philippines island of Samar.
More than 1000 people lined up at
the Calbayog City Sports Centre for the
first day of a free US Navy-led medical
Locals were treated by a multination-
al team of military and non-government
organisation professionals, that included
a five-person Navy team of doctors, a
nurse and dental specialists.
Nursing officer LEUT Ross
Shackleton said the project received a
wide variety of patients.
"We're getting people from ophthal-
mology to dental surgical cases coming
through," he said.
"We're seeing a lot of conditions,
such as those caused by nutrient deficien-
cies, that you don't often see at home."
LEUT Shackleton said despite the
large numbers of people, the local sup-
port and feedback had been positive.
"Even though there are masses of
people waiting outside, everyone
is happy to wait their turn to get free
treatment so they can put their money
towards things like food and schooling
for their children," he said.
Host nations are also involved,
contributing personnel and resources
for the various civic aid projects and
conducting emergency training exer-
cises to help build a regional capabil-
ity to respond to any future large-scale
Navy doctor LCDR Richard Loizou
said he saw a lot of chronic diseases
such as diabetes, hypertension and acute
"Some people are already receiv-
ing treatment and they're coming in to
confirm their treatment is OK," LCDR
"We spend time talking to them,
reassuring them and making them feel
good about the medicines they are
"Other people have no idea about
their condition, so we are able to help
them out quite a bit."
LEUT Shackleton said he was
pleased to join the mission because it
helped him to develop professionally.
"This sort of nursing and medical
experience is fantastic because I can
get a feel for the various conditions
people are presenting with and follow
them through the different areas of their
medical treatment," he said.
"We can see them from admission
right through to the discharge phase,
which is an opportunity you rarely get
back in Australia."
FREE CHECK-UPS: LEUT
Ross Shackleton, of HMAS
Penguin, checks the health
of Jambie during a medical
civic-aid project in the
Philippines. Inset, LCDR
Richard Loizou, of HMAS
Kuttabul, examines the ear of
Melita at the Calbayog City
Photos: FSGT Craig Sharp
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