USNS Mercy Arrives, already Receive Dental and Surgery bookings
Speaking to the local media this morning upon the arrival of Mercy Lt. Steven Szelmeczki U.S Navy Partnership Chaplain and Outreach Coordinator said they’ve visited Vietnam, Palau and the Philippines before making their way to the Solomon Islands.
Mr Szelmeczki said the arrival of Mercy to Solomon Islands was done under the U.S Pacific Partnership program which is now in its 17th year.
“The pacific partnership comprises four main lines of effort which are medical, engineering, humanitarian/disaster relief and host nation outreach,” Mr Szelmeczki said.
Mr Szelmeczki said today (29 August 2022) the ship’s commodore and some staff will meet with planners from both the Solomon Islands and U.S on the ground staff on logistics of the ship’s operations during its stay in the country.
Mercy is expected to start taking in patients after its opening ceremony tomorrow.
Dr Titus Nasi, Pediatrician at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) during a press conference over the weekend said patients to be treated by the US Mercy ship are selected following close collaboration between Mercy’s team and the NRH’s medical team.
“We have been working with their team and coordinating with our national specialist at the National Referral Hospital and we have been booking patients, there’s a record that we have, like the dentist team, the obstetrician, surgeons have listed a number of cases, it’s a selection of cases that align with what sort of services the ship is providing and could be carried out during the ships stay in the country,” Dr Nasi said.
He assured highly sophisticated medical operations won’t be carried out as they don’t have the skills, knowledge and care capacity to look after the patient after the Mercy trip.
In terms of normal medical patients NRH has selected medical cases which they find quite difficult for them.
“We will be doing ward rounds with medical staff from Mercy, we will be seeing difficult medical patients and we are expecting an exchange of knowledge with regards to the patient’s treatment to be carried out then,” Dr Nasi said.
He said around one thousand dentist cases and 70 surgeries have already been booked, this number is expected to increase during the ship’s stay.
He added aside from patient treatment, training and consultation by Mercy’s medical team for NRH staff will also be held.
Speaking at a media conference over the weekend Charge D’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Solomon Islands Russel Comeau said the pacific partnership covers not only host countries USNS Mercy visits but it’s a partnership with USA and its friends around the world.
“Through the name pacific partnership, it’s not only a partnership with the host country Solomon Islands or wherever the ship is, it’s a partnership with our friends in the region, around the world and on this voyage, we have Japanese, Australians on board,” Mr Comeau said.
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the indo-Pacific.
The USNS Mercy has a medical facility of one CT Scanner, four radiology suites, twelve operating Rooms, 1000 Patient Beds, an Isolation Ward and eighty Intensive Care Beds, a pharmacy, an optometry laboratory, a physical therapy unit, a Dental suite, a blood bank, an isolation ward and a medical laboratory.
By Sharon Nanau