Solomon Islands Property Donation to Improve Surgical Care for Citizens > U.S. Pacific Fleet > News

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The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) set sail in October for Pacific Partnership 24-1, as part of a long tradition of humanitarian support engagements with friendly nations across the Indo-Pacific. The ship’s visit to the Solomon Islands included construction projects, patient care provided by Navy doctors, and the donation of high-end medical equipment to the National Referral Hospital in capital city Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal in December. The property, valued at more than half a million dollars, was cleared for humanitarian donation after turnover to DLA Disposition Services for authorized release from DOD’s accountable property books.

     

Cmdr. Gregory Hall serves as the surgical planner aboard the ship. He said the donation included surgical equipment and instruments to perform minimally invasive surgery “across a wide range of surgical specialties” like orthopedics, pulmonology, and gastroenterology.  

“The main items donated were two separate ‘towers’ that hold the equipment necessary to visualize and power the minimally invasive instruments,” Hall said, noting that equipment needs were identified during previous Mercy visits. “The tower consists of items such as video monitors, image processors and the scope power units. The secondary items were the multitude of ‘sets’ that contain the specialty equipment to actually perform the minimally invasive procedures. This consists of cameras, the scopes themselves and other minimally invasive surgical equipment.”

Hall said the donation would have an immediate positive impact on quality of life for Solomon Islands residents through better surgical intervention and faster recovery. The equipment will also allow visiting partner nation specialists to perform advanced procedures while helping expand the surgical education opportunities for local surgeons.

“Pacific Partnership brings nations together to prepare in calm to respond in crisis,” said Capt. Brian Quin, mission commander of Pacific Partnership 24-1. “This donation of life-saving equipment will make a lasting impact on the medical capabilities of National Referral Hospital and its medical practitioners. This demonstrates our continued partnership with the people of the Solomon Islands.”

Gilbert Delagente manages the excess property Reutilization, Transfer and Donation program at DLA Disposition Services Pearl Harbor. He said that the agency’s property disposal experts there worked with USNS Mercy to conduct a receipt-in-place property transfer from the Navy, and RTD Branch personnel at the major sub-command headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, worked with their established humanitarian assistance program contacts to help coordinate the donation to National Referral Hospital. Millions of dollars in surplus Defense Department goods and equipment flows through DLA to humanitarian assistance channels every year, and its specialists handle the coordination with diplomats.

“Across the Pacific region, DLA Disposition Services provides timely and on-the-spot disposal solutions to our warfighters to ensure that they are operational ready to execute their mission at the tip of the spear,” said Region Director Faron Cordrey. “Deployed forces must remain mission focused, and by having DLA readily available as partners, our service members can maintain that operational focus and be successful.”

According to a Navy release, this 19th edition of Pacific Partnership is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific, meant to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships.

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