An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 17, 2023

Pacific Partnership 2024-1; U.S. and Marshallese Medical Team Eradicate Tuberculosis in Outer Islands

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Woitzel, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

U.S. Navy and Marshallese medical personnel delivered collaborative efforts to eliminate tuberculosis in Aur Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), during Pacific Partnership 2024-1 Nov. 7-11, 2023.

The U.S. and Marshallese providers united in support of the Marshall Islands Ministry of Health and Human Services tuberculosis and eradication campaign.

“Together, with our Marshallese partners, we are testing all residents of Aur for tuberculosis, and also starting treatment for those who tested positive,” said Lt. Hoel Rupert David, officer in charge of the medical effort.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in in the world.

“Tuberculosis is an airborne disease caused by bacteria,” said David. “It can easily pass on from person to person, and if it is not treated, it can be fatal.”

Having the support from PP24-1’s medical team reinforced local medical professionals’ hopes to rid Marshallese citizens of the disease.

“It is important because our tuberculosis (TB) strategy and goal is to eliminate TB, and for us to take control by 2035 by doing this mass screening,” said Samantha Anontog, a Marshallese tuberculosis nurse supervisor. “Especially in the outer islands, TB service is not free. It’s not available in the outer islands, so we are bringing it to them.”

To reach the outer islands of Aur Atoll, 13 U.S. Sailors and a contingent of Marshallese professionals left the island of Majuro aboard RMIS Liwatoon-Mour, the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ hospital ship, commencing their hours-long journey. Upon arrival, the team spent three days delivering medical care to the islands’ residents, combating tuberculosis and providing optical and dental care.

This is the first time in Pacific Partnership history that U.S. service members have embarked on a foreign vessel to provide medical support.

“It gives me great joy and honor to be part of this unique and challenging mission,” said David. “We have never done this type of mission before, and it’s challenging because we have to travel five to six hours in a Marshall Islands-owned medical ship to be able to come here. Coming here was not easy, and it’s only 13 of us, handpicked, to be a part of this mission delivering expeditionary healthcare to the people in this underserved community.”

The U.S. and Marshallese integration facilitated learning opportunities for the medical partners, helping them to hone their professional skills and foster stronger connections.

“Working with Marshallese partners is amazing,” said David. “One of the things that they taught me is reading x-rays. In the United States, you rely totally on the radiologist. Here, we do not have a radiologist to read x-rays. It’s you. You need to be there, and by doing that multiple times, I learned more about reading x-rays.”

Medical care is highly limited for the residents of Aur Atoll, and the bigger island of Majuro, which is home to the country’s largest hospital, is not easily accessible.

“Our mission is not done yet,” said David. “In the Marshall Islands there are a lot more atolls that need the same services that we provided for Aur, and for the future Pacific Partnership, if given the opportunity to do this again, I will do it in a heartbeat.”

Now in its 19th iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Statement from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 14, 2024 - Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security Tarun Chhabra and Department of State Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technologies Seth Center will lead an...

U.S. Army provides legal training to Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers
(Left to right) U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Lillard, national security law attorney, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gabriel Bush, deputy staff judge advocate, Andersen AFB, Guam, and Maj. Christopher Niemiec, international operations officer, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies pose for a photo with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers April 6, 2024, Tumon, Guam, during Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training. The three-day training session covered a wide range of topics crucial to the legal aspects of detainee operations, law of armed conflict, and legal considerations in conflict zones to four PNGDF officers re-introducing aircraft to their air wing. (Courtesy)
May 14, 2024 - A U.S. Army national security law attorney conducted Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers in an effort to enhance their legal expertise April 4, 2024, in...

CARAT Indonesia Celebrates 75 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between U.S., Indonesia
May 13, 2024 - The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2024 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, May 13...

MV-22B Ospreys touch down in the top end for MRF-D 24.3
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3, take off for the first flight of the MRF-D 24.3 rotation at Port Darwin, Darwin, NT, Australia, May 11, 2024. The Ospreys were flown from Port Darwin to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will be hosted for the duration of the rotation. VMM-268 (Rein.) makes up the Aviation Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, completing the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin)
May 13, 2024 - The rumble of U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys echoed across Port Darwin and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced) (VMM-268 (Rein.)) arrived as the Aviation Combat...

51st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons take the lead in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron lands on a runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 8, 2024. The 36th FS aircraft returned from the Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 training event with sustained operational capabilities and improved interoperability with allies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kaitlin Frazier)
May 10, 2024 - The 51st Fighter Wing took charge as the lead wing in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, from April 18 - May 3, 2024...