US PACIFIC Command-coordinated recurring humanitarian assistance program Pacific Angel carried out its latest mission in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

Pacific Angel 15-4 provided medical care for 3,859 patients, refurbished three schools for 3,000 students and helped two local hospitals overhaul their ability to respond to emergencies.

A team made up of doctors, dentists, plumbers and planners from Papua New Guinea, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia provided the services from a base in Goroka.

Partnering with 56 US military personnel, civilian medical professionals worked to provide general health, pediatrics physical therapy, dental and optometry services.

They also discussed how best to deal with evolving tropical diseases, build disease monitoring and treatment programs, and how to maximise limited resources for best results.

Eastern Highlands Province governor Julie Soso said the participants of Pacific Angel 15-4 had been a great friend for the people in the Eastern Highlands.

“I would like to, on behalf of the people of the Eastern Highlands, take this time to thank the Pacific Angels for giving to the health centre and for the improvements you have done to our schools,” she said.

The leader of the operation’s medical subject matter expert exchange teams, US Air Force nurse Courtney Finkbeiner said the operation would help PNG military and civil health groups cope with the complexity of disaster relief.

“Disaster is chaotic enough,” she said. “All of the (Papua New Guinea) medical professionals know how to care for patients; we only try to show them how we organise in a crisis.”

Appreciating that context of mutual reliance and assistance is critical to understanding the aid picture in the South Pacific, emphasising cooperation amongst countries.

Nevada National Guard adjutant general William Burks said the projects were a visible expression of the United States’ commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

“Through Pacific Angel we have reinforced the existing partnerships, and we’ll create new friendships to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous Asian-Pacific region,” he said.