TAM KY, Vietnam -- U.S. Air Force and Vietnamese medical professionals participated in two subject matter expert (SME) exchanges here in Quang Nam province Sept. 4-7.
These medical exchanges focused on information sharing and collaboration on a variety of topics as part of Pacific Angel (PAC ANGEL), an annual U.S. led joint and combined humanitarian assistance and disaster relief engagement.
“Having the opportunity to work with our Vietnamese counterparts during these medical SME exchanges is mutually beneficial and helps build partnerships,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. William Valencia, family health physician, Misawa Air Base, Japan, who briefed during the PAC ANGEL 18-2 medical exchanges. “We’re able to share best practices between medical professionals, which helps promote interoperability.”
The SME exchange for women and infant health took place at the Quang Nam Department of Health, Reproductive Health Care Center in Tam Ky. The exchange focused on early screening of breast and cervical cancer, and global initiatives for breast feeding. It also provided updates on new birth control methods.
“These exchanges are very helpful for medical officers, particularly those who are working in the reproductive health care sector,” said Dr. Nha Thi Nguyen, director of Quang Nam Department of Health, Reproductive Health Care Center in Tam Ky. “It provides them with knowledge about mother and infant health care so they can apply it to their work.”
There were approximately 80 doctors, nurses, midwifes and other healthcare workers who participated during the women and infant health exchange.
The SME exchange for non-communicable diseases was held at the Preventive Medicine Center for Goiter and Malaria in Tam Ky. It was a collaborative exchange focused on theories, techniques and practices for the effective control and management of diabetes and hypertension.
“This is a wonderful exchange of information,” said Dr. Dan Vuong, emergency department Thang Binh District Hospital in Quang Nam province. “It gave us helpful knowledge in diabetes and hypertension, which are common diseases many people care about now.”
Approximately 75 medical professionals participated during the discussions, which center on community screening and diagnosis, prevention and control strategies. The SME exchange also focused on long-term management models.
Vuong added that standards to diagnose and provide treatment in diabetes and hypertension have changed, and the standards discussed during the SME exchange would be easy to apply.
“If this standard is applied here, it would be the easiest standard to apply,” Vuong said. “Frankly, there’s so much more I want to learn, but with the scale of the training, and my level of expertise, I think the presenters have fully answered my questions.”
SME exchanges are just one aspect of PAC ANGEL that also includes general health, dental, optometry, pediatrics and engineering programs, which will take place Sept. 10-15. PAC ANGEL 18-2 is one of four PAC ANGEL humanitarian assistance engagements taking place in 2018. Earlier this year, U.S. Pacific Air Forces conducted events in Timor Leste, Vanuatu and Sri Lanka.
Now entering its 11th year, PAC ANGEL ensures the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crises. Since 2007, PAC ANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing health services, civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and SME exchanges.