Medical collaboration provides world-class care during PACANGEL in the Philippines

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
Rayian Carazon slept soundly for the first time in weeks Aug. 16.

Already caring for her energetic 1-year-old, Trica, and four months pregnant with her second child, Carazon constantly worried about the health of her young family. Until this day, she had no way to know if there was anything wrong.

Through word of mouth, she heard about the health services outreach provided as part of the Pacific Angel 15-1 Philippines mission taking place near her small home in Lila, Bohol province.

“I came to see what the medical mission was all about,” Carazon said. “I now know my family is in good health. I am grateful for this medical mission, and it is very nice you had it here in Lila."

Her story is common among the approximately 3,000 citizens of Bohol province set to receive free health screening and treatment during PACANGEL.

Individuals from all over the tropical island braved weather ranging from tremendous downpours to intense heat for their chance to see military doctors, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists and pharmacists from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy along with military from the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Providing world-class care to patients such as Carazon is a valuable byproduct of the real intent of the exercise, which is to build partnerships between the U.S. and its Indo-Asia-Pacific partners.

“It is very enlightening working with other military healthcare providers,” said Philippine Air Force Capt. James A. Robert Honculada, an orthopedic and family practice physician. “There really are different styles in management for different illnesses. Now, I have confirmed what I have only read is genuinely being practiced by my counterparts from other countries. I can take this knowledge back to my patients in my country.”

These partnerships strengthen relationships that are relied upon during humanitarian assistance operations.

“It has been an extremely positive experiences working with the other national doctors from the different partner nations,” said Air Force Capt. Timothy Hiyra, a physician from the Hawaii Air National Guard. “We are all teaching and learning, not only are we learning new techniques and new types of treatment we are also getting a changes to teach what we do in the U.S. as well. It is a two way collaboration which has been a huge benefit of this exercise.”

Partnership building aside, at least one satisfied patient is just grateful the medical providers were here this week.

“I want to say thank you to the barangi (neighborhood) officials, the local government unit of Lila and all the military people,” Carazon said. “Today was very easy, my family was able to see a doctor, receive medications and be reassured that my family is in good health.”