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Medical support to Papua New Guinea

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

1 August 2008

New Zealand Defence Force personnel to give medical support to Papua New Guinea

Eight New Zealand Defence Force personnel are to join the United States Nursing Ship (USNS) MERCY to provide medical support to the people of Papua New Guinea.

Over the next three weeks, two Royal New Zealand Navy, four New Zealand Army and two Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel will assist the Pacific Partnership ’08 humanitarian and development mission, Defence Minister Phil Goff said.

“The Defence Force personnel will undertake shipboard surgical procedures and primary health care activities around Port Moresby. They will be working alongside military medical personnel from 13 other nations,” Phil Goff said.

The USNS MERCY has a surgical suite, including three operating theatres, and 50 ward beds as well as laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services. It will support three shore-based health care teams who will also have dental, optometry, pharmacy and environmental health capabilities.

“Exercises such as Pacific Partnership ’08 provide the ability for our personnel to not only use their skills to help others in the Pacific region, but also to learn from the people they work alongside in a multi-national environment. Continuing to gain this experience is vital to the ability of the New Zealand Defence Force to deploy well-trained medics,” Mr Goff said.


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