Hospital Ship USNS Mercy visit Samar, Philippines
By RICKY BAUTISTA
CATBALOGAN CITY – The San Diego-based Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy
is now in Samar Philippines as part of their four-month humanitarian
mission to four Asian nations.
Accordingly, the vessel would complete to visit Cambodia, Indonesia,
the Philippines and Vietnam in the seventh year of a program called
Pacific Partnership, according to the Navy.
Today, while parked at Calbayog City territorial sea, several surgical
operations on board and medical and dental visitation to Samar
municipalities, particularly in this city, have been scheduled. The
MEDCAP includes services on medical, dental, optometry, women’s
health, and general out-patient consultation.
On June 15, the medical team of the USNS Mercy will hold its “press
briefing” at Ciriaco Hotel in Calbayog to members of the tri-media
based in Eastern Visayas.
From June 18-24, the enlistment of possible patients will take place
as Surgical Civic Action Programs (SURGCAP) will only be held in
Calbayog City. Actual surgeries will be performed on-board the USNS
Mercy ship after the enlistment.
In this city, health authorities’ said medical consultations and free
check-ups will be held on June 25 to 30 this year. With the assistance
of the City Health Office, the MEDCAP in this city will be at the
Silanga Elementary School, Barangay Silanga, among other locations in
City Health Officer Dr. Amalia Tirazona said the MEDCAP is set to
cater at most 400 patients per day and will further be assisted by
Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS)
nurses stationed at the City Health Office.
Catbalogan Councilor Stephany Tan also revealed there were also a
series of sub-activities relative to the Pacific Partnership 2012
scheduled in this city in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the goal of the program is to build relationships that will
help in the event of a natural disaster.
"A lot of planning and coordination among host and partner nation
governments and military, civilian organizations and agencies have
gone into getting us to this point," said Capt. James Morgan, the
The team was guided with the theme: ‘Preparing in calm to respond in
Converted from an oil tanker in the mid 1980s, the Mercy first saw
duty in the Persian Gulf War. Following that deployment, it left its
berth at Naval Base San Diego.
However, the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia prompted the hospital
ship to return to the area every year since.
The Mercy carries about 400 Naval medical personnel, along with
civilian crew members with the Maritime Sealift Command. Crew members
on the Mercy will provide medical, dental and veterinary care in the
host nations and help with civil engineering projects.
Pacific Partnership also includes personnel from the Army, Air Force
and Marine Corps; U.S. State and Justice Departments, Agency for
International Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Japan will contribute a landing ship, helicopters, a medical team and
representatives from the country's volunteer organizations.
Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands,
New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will also
deploy personnel in support of the mission.
organizations scheduled to take part include the UC San Diego
Pre-Dental Society, a student-run free dental clinic; Project Hope,
which launched the first civilian hospital ship, LDS Charities; and
the University of Hawaii.