Pacific Partnership 2014 - Developing skills is key to improving medical care

This article has a video attachmentPublished on CAPT Dom Sander (author), CPL Bill Solomou (photographer)

Location(s): Dili, Timor-Leste

Topic(s): Exercises

Royal Australian Navy medical officer Lieutenant Commander Victoria Caton (left), conducts newborn care classes with local Timorese medical practitioners in Dili, Timor-Leste, during Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014. (photo: CPL Bill Solomou)
Royal Australian Navy medical officer Lieutenant Commander Victoria Caton (left), conducts newborn care classes with local Timorese medical practitioners in Dili, Timor-Leste, during Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014.

Medical Officers and nurses from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), United States Navy (USN) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have started a health training program for Timor-Leste doctors as part of Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014.

The goal of the medical training and subject matter expert exchanges are to assist Timor-Leste health professionals to develop the skills that will enable them to provide more advanced medical support to their patients.

Royal Australian Navy medical officer Lieutenant Lin Hu (right) and New Zealand Army medical officer Captain David Greenhough, conduct skills development in disaster response and life saving trauma management with local Timorese medical practitioners, in Dili, Timor-Leste, during Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014.

Royal Australian Navy medical officer Lieutenant Lin Hu (right) and New Zealand Army medical officer Captain David Greenhough, conduct skills development in disaster response and life saving trauma management with local Timorese medical practitioners, in Dili, Timor-Leste, during Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014.



The focus for this week’s training is to educate local medical staff on newborn care procedures and techniques during a maternity course and how to effectively administer basic life support.

ADF, USN and NZDF medical staff assisted in workshops supporting the practical training and presented lectures during the medical training program.

Captain Andrew Ramage, a medical officer from 1st Close Health Battalion, said the focus of the humanitarian civic assistance program within PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP was on building the capacity and capability of the medical personnel in the local community.

“What we are aiming to achieve is an improvement in the clinical outcomes for the population of Timor-Leste and improved capacity within the health system," Captain Ramage said.

“So far the experience has been challenging and rewarding for the medical team but all members of the team have stepped up to the challenge, ensuring that the local medical professionals get the most out of the training.”

Captain Ramage said the biggest challenge faced so far has been the language barrier.

“Thankfully we have very good interpreters and with their assistance we have been able to overcome the language barrier quite successfully and we were able to instruct effectively.

“If we are able to assist them to develop their skills then they will be able to treat and care for the people in Timor-Leste much more effectively.”

PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP is an annual United States-sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific.

Nine ADF medical officers and nurses have deployed to Dili, Timor-Leste for PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2014.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141780.