US donates $500,000 in high-end surgical equipment to Solomon Islands

0
Cmdr. Gregory Hall, surgical planner on the USNS Mercy, and Dr. Rooney Jagilly, chief of surgery and acting CEO of the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, Solomon Islands, stand beside a laparoscopy tower donated by the U.S. Defense Department during the Pacific Partnership mission in early December 2023.

Cmdr. Gregory Hall, surgical planner on the USNS Mercy, and Dr. Rooney Jagilly, chief of surgery and acting CEO of the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, Solomon Islands, stand beside a laparoscopy tower donated by the U.S. Defense Department during the Pacific Partnership mission in early December 2023. (Justin Ontiveros/US. Navy)

The U.S. Defense Department has donated a half-million dollars of surplus high-end surgical equipment to the Solomon Islands, an archipelagic nation of almost 1,000 islands in Oceania.

Personnel from the hospital ship USNS Mercy presented the equipment during a two-week portion of the Navy’s Pacific Partnership mission to the nation late last year, the Navy said in a news release Thursday.

The surplus equipment was provided by the Defense Logistics Agency, according to the release. DLA transfers millions of dollars of surplus Defense Department goods and equipment each year as humanitarian assistance.

The equipment is expected to improve health care for citizens living across scores of islands in the country, but the donation also contributes to America’s soft power in the region.

The U.S. and China are engaged in a diplomatic rivalry over the Solomon Islands, with the two global superpowers eager to have the Oceania nation within their sphere of influence.

The U.S. liberated the Solomon Islands from the Japanese during World War II. More than 7,000 Marines died during the seven-month Battle of Guadalcanal.

U.S. and Australian officials were stunned when Solomon Islands announced in early 2022 that it was entering into a security agreement with China, opening the possibility that Beijing could use the nation to bolster its military presence in the region.

The donated surgical equipment and instruments will be used to perform minimally invasive surgery “across a wide range of surgical specialties” such as orthopedics, pulmonology and gastroenterology, Cmdr. Gregory Hall, Mercy’s surgical planner, said in the news release.

“The main items donated were two separate ‘towers’ that hold the equipment necessary to visualize and power the minimally invasive instruments,” he said.

The nation’s most pressing equipment needs had been identified during a previous humanitarian mission to the Solomon Islands, Hall said.

The tower consists of items such as video monitors, image processors and the scope power units, he said.

“The secondary items were the multitude of ‘sets’ that contain the specialty equipment to actually perform the minimally invasive procedures,” Hall said. “This consists of cameras, the scopes themselves and other minimally invasive surgical equipment.”

The medical equipment not only expands the capabilities of local surgeons, but it offers increased opportunities for medical personnel visiting from partner nations to perform advanced procedures that would have otherwise been unfeasible, the Navy said.

“Pacific Partnership brings nations together to prepare in calm to respond in crisis,” Capt. Brian Quin, mission commander of Pacific Partnership that donated the equipment, said in the news release.

The donation will have a “lasting impact” on the National Referral Hospital and its personnel while demonstrating America’s “continued partnership with the people of the Solomon Islands,” he said.

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *