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Philippines, US Conducts Balikatan Virtual Global Health Engagement

A photo of a U.S. Air Force officer speaking

U.S. Air Force Col. Rudy Cachuela, U.S. Pacific Air Forces command surgeon, provides opening remarks to a virtual audience during a Global Health Engagement knowledge exchange with medical experts from the Philippine Air Force as a part of Balikatan 2021, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, April 12, 2021. Balikatan an annual U.S.-Philippine military training event which highlights the two militaries continued commitment to train and share information to improve their ability to coordinate a multilateral response to crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Tangen)

Photo of U.S. Air Force Airmen attending a virtual brief

U.S. Air Force Col. Rudy Cachuela, right, U.S. Pacific Air Forces command surgeon, and Lt. Col. Cherielynne Gabriel, PACAF international health specialist, listen to Philippine Air Force Col. Rudit Vivienne Villanueva during a Global Health Engagement virtual knowledge exchange with medical experts from the Philippine Air Force as a part of Balikatan 2021, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, April 12, 2021. Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine military training event which highlights the two militaries continued commitment to train and share information to improve their ability to coordinate a multilateral response to crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Tangen)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

U.S. Pacific Air Forces Command Surgeon kicked off a three-day virtual Global Health Engagement with medical experts from the Philippine Air Force during Exercise Balikatan, April 12.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic conditions the knowledge exchange and key leader engagement was executed virtually for the first time.

“The main objective of the exchange is to provide an overview of the present pandemic situation from surveillance, on-scene response, testing and monitoring to patient treatment and modifications to patient movement,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cherielynne Gabriel, U.S. Pacific Air Forces international health specialist. “It aims to share best practices, enhance knowledge of participants and maintain relationships until we can practice medical interoperability in-person again when global health condition improves.”

Balikatan is a Tagalog phrase for “shoulder-to-shoulder,” which characterizes the spirit of the exercise and represents the partnership between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.

Exercises like Balikatan strengthen international partnerships and the participating militaries’ abilities to rapidly respond to crises throughout the Indo-Pacific region.