PACANGEL 16-2 medics work together to bring medical care to Kampot

People from surrounding villages in Kampot Province wait patiently outside of a medical site to be seen during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 15, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. During Pacific Angel 16-2 the multilateral Pacific Angel medical team of providers saw more 1,500 patients within the first three days of the humanitarian mission. Pacific Angel ensures that the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crises in case of natural disasters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

People from surrounding villages in Kampot Province wait patiently outside of a medical site to be seen during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 15, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. During Pacific Angel 16-2 the multilateral Pacific Angel medical team of providers saw more 1,500 patients within the first three days of the humanitarian mission. Pacific Angel ensures that the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crises in case of natural disasters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Harris, Yokota Air Force Base’s 374th Aersospace Medicine Squadron optometrist, examines the eyes of a patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 14, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Skilled medics from both military and non-governmental agencies around the glove came to provide hospital quality care to patients during Pacific Angel 16-2. Pacific Angel helps cultivate common bonds and foster goodwill between the U.S., Cambodia, and several regional nations by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Harris, Yokota Air Force Base’s 374th Aersospace Medicine Squadron optometrist, examines the eyes of a patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 14, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Skilled medics from both military and non-governmental agencies around the glove came to provide hospital quality care to patients during Pacific Angel 16-2. Pacific Angel helps cultivate common bonds and foster goodwill between the U.S., Cambodia, and several regional nations by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces medical professionals work as a team alongside U.S. Armed Forces medical professionals to provide care to patients during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 14, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. The Pacific Angel 16-2 medical team is made up of military health practitioners from the Cambodia Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces, Thai Royal Air Force, Australian Royal Air Force and Vietnamese Royal Air Force. Non-governmental organizations such as Project Hope and East Meets West also helped by supplying translators and medics as well.  The U.S. military seeks opportunities to strengthen its relationship with other nations’ militaries through activities such as subject-matter expert exchanges, host nation visits, and bilateral engagements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces medical professionals work as a team alongside U.S. Armed Forces medical professionals to provide care to patients during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 14, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. The Pacific Angel 16-2 medical team is made up of military health practitioners from the Cambodia Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces, Thai Royal Air Force, Australian Royal Air Force and Vietnamese Royal Air Force. Non-governmental organizations such as Project Hope and East Meets West also helped by supplying translators and medics as well. The U.S. military seeks opportunities to strengthen its relationship with other nations’ militaries through activities such as subject-matter expert exchanges, host nation visits, and bilateral engagements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cullen Babcock, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s 15th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, conducts an eye exam on a Cambodian Buddhist monk during Pacific Angel 16-2 June 14, 2016,  in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Babcock and other technicians conducted on patients ranging from ages 2 to 91. Pacific Angel gives the United States an opportunity to support the efforts of other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, physical therapy, engineering assistance, and subject matter expert exchanges to host nation citizens.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cullen Babcock, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s 15th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, conducts an eye exam on a Cambodian Buddhist monk during Pacific Angel 16-2 June 14, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Babcock and other technicians conducted on patients ranging from ages 2 to 91. Pacific Angel gives the United States an opportunity to support the efforts of other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, physical therapy, engineering assistance, and subject matter expert exchanges to host nation citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

Royal Cambodian Air Force Capt. Tob Vuthy treats a patient for lower back pain June 14, 2016, during Pacific Angel 16-2 in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Multinational doctors, dentists and pharmacists treated patients in the province as part of the humanitarian assistance mission designed to enhance participating nations’ humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing needed services to people throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Pacific Angel 16-2 included general health, dental, optometry, pediatrics, physical therapy and engineering programs as well a various subject-matter expert exchanges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington/Released)

Royal Cambodian Air Force Capt. Tob Vuthy treats a patient for lower back pain June 14, 2016, during Pacific Angel 16-2 in Kampot Province, Cambodia. Multinational doctors, dentists and pharmacists treated patients in the province as part of the humanitarian assistance mission designed to enhance participating nations’ humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing needed services to people throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Pacific Angel 16-2 included general health, dental, optometry, pediatrics, physical therapy and engineering programs as well a various subject-matter expert exchanges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Necita Aldan, Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Medical Group public health technician, shows patients proper handwashing techniques during Pacific Angel 16-2 June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. As a public health technician, Aldan taught patients basic hygiene and also tallied numbers for patients seen during the humanitarian operation. More than 1,500 patients were seen through the first three days of Pacific Angel 16-2. The mission enhances participating nations’ humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing needed services to people in need throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Necita Aldan, Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Medical Group public health technician, shows patients proper handwashing techniques during Pacific Angel 16-2 June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. As a public health technician, Aldan taught patients basic hygiene and also tallied numbers for patients seen during the humanitarian operation. More than 1,500 patients were seen through the first three days of Pacific Angel 16-2. The mission enhances participating nations’ humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing needed services to people in need throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force TSgt. Nicole Olive, Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing medical technician, listens to the heartbeat of patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia.  The Idaho National Guard has partnered with Cambodia’s Armed Forces to train together through the Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The program is designed to provide a consistent, enduring, and genuine presence, built over time through professional, personal, and institutional relationships that span continents and decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force TSgt. Nicole Olive, Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing medical technician, listens to the heartbeat of patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. The Idaho National Guard has partnered with Cambodia’s Armed Forces to train together through the Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The program is designed to provide a consistent, enduring, and genuine presence, built over time through professional, personal, and institutional relationships that span continents and decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nichole Olive, Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Medical Group technician, checks the blood pressure of a patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. The Idaho National Guard has partnered with Cambodia’s Armed Forces to train together through the Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The SPP pairs up National Guard units with countries throughout the world as a way to build and foster greater ongoing relationships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nichole Olive, Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Medical Group technician, checks the blood pressure of a patient during Pacific Angel 16-2, June 13, 2016, in Kampot Province, Cambodia. The Idaho National Guard has partnered with Cambodia’s Armed Forces to train together through the Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The SPP pairs up National Guard units with countries throughout the world as a way to build and foster greater ongoing relationships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard/Released)

KAMPOT, Cambodia --

A hospital is a place of healing and recovery. It is a sanctuary where medical treatment can be found and provided for the sick or injured. Thanks to Pacific Angel 16-2, the quality care found within a hospital is now being given to the people of Kampot Province, Cambodia.

Medical professionals from multiple nations and agencies across the globe have come together in a multilateral effort to promote interoperability with partner nations while delivering humanitarian aid to people of Kampot.

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces work alongside their U.S., Thai, Vietnamese, and Australian counterparts to provide care during Pacific Angel 16-2, a humanitarian assistance/civil-military operation mission that not only involves militaries from five different nations, but non-governmental organizations such as Project Hope and East Meets West are also lending aid.

The majority of the medical supplies were purchased in Thailand and Vietnam, flown in to Cambodia, and then bussed to a local school grounds where the Pacific Angel medical team was able to set up their first site during the humanitarian mission.

Teams of medical professionals set up centers for pediatrics, physical therapy, pharmacy, optometry, dentistry and general/preventative health. Each center is manned with medics and doctors working with each other and their translators.

“Obviously the language barrier is difficult to overcome at times, especially when you’re working in a professional setting prescribing treatment,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Kanter, a dentist deployed from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “Everyone has been patient. The people are very warm and welcoming here in Cambodia.”

Kanter said working alongside the dentists from the Royal Cambodian Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force has opened his eyes to different ways to treat his patients, making the partnership exchange mutually beneficial. 

“Even though we are in one specified field, it’s amazing how other people will approach things both differently and similarly,” he continued.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigadier Gen. Candara Vuth, deputy director of the health department within the Ministry of National Defense, said, “We are happy to work together with the U.S. and the other nations to bring aid to the people of Cambodia.”

According to Vuth, some of the people that live far from the province are very poor and sometimes they can’t go to the hospital in the province. So they rely on natural remedies like some of the trees that grow around Cambodia. 

“Being out in the field, you miss some of things you use when you are practicing medicine at home,” explained RAAF Flight Lt. Rowan McCarthy, Pacific Angel 16-2 general health medical officer. “We can’t order a blood test or conduct x-rays. We don’t know much about the back history of these patients.”

According to McCarthy, it’s normal to see a 60 to 70-year-old patient back home with a medical history. 

“Here they may have never seen a doctor before,” he continued. “So going without that makes it more of a challenge but interesting as well.”

With that knowledge in mind, care providers like McCarthy overcome these challenges by focus on the quality of care and attention to detail they gave to each and every patient. 

“It’s always good to find out how similar some people are,” said McCarthy. “Even though there are different languages and training backgrounds, everyone is pretty similar in our working toward a common goal.”

“I think it has been really good stepping back to clinically focused medicine – doing physical exams to figure out what is going on has allowed us to overcome some of the challenges we’ve had.” continued McCarthy. 

Most patients had their major concerns addressed and were impressed with the level of care provided by the teams of medical providers.

Sok Moeun, a Pacific Angel 16-2 dental patient, said that she was really happy with the care provided because she was able obtain the service at no cost, and check on her dental health at the same time.

“I am thankful for the multi-national team that was able to bring healthcare to my village,” she said.

Through Pacific Angel 16-2, medical providers from both Cambodia and other nations benefit by training and forging bonds and partnerships with each other. 

“This humanitarian mission will help prepare us in the future for relief operations here, or anywhere in the region,” Kanter said. “It helps to know the type of people you’re working with, who you’re going to be operating with. If you know what to expect going into a situation it can help you prepare.” 

Pacific Angel 16-2 allows multiple nations to work together so that in the event there was a natural disaster in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crises.