SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- A German non-governmental organization surgeon working in Cambodia for the past 18 years joined Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) surgeons aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T AH-19) to treat Cambodian patients Aug. 8.
Dr. Cornelia Haner, a Hope Worldwide volunteer, and Hospital Director at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot, Cambodia, performed general surgery aboard USNS Mercy alongside U.S. and partner nation surgeons.
"I came on the ship because I wanted to learn," said Haner. "I wanted to learn how we could help the mission in the future. I think getting to know people and see the experience people have and how they work in a very professional way by keeping standards and focusing on safety is one of the best things I have taken away from being aboard."
During Haner's two day stay aboard, she was able to work on a number of different general surgeries with U.S. Navy Surgeon Capt. William Brunner. The two surgeons were able to work together as well as with Cambodian college students to help build relationships.
"I think it helped the students expand their ideas of possibilities and got them excited to come and assist us in future missions, not only here but in other countries," said Brunner. "Getting them involved helped us move forward and allowed them to want to come out again on missions in the future, especially if there is a disaster."
Haner said that coming together on the ship gave her an understanding of the importance of PP12's mission.
"I think this mission really helps a lot of patients in Cambodia and I am grateful for the patients coming in," she said. "I think the interaction with the Cambodian medical students and the exchange of information is the most important part in missions in general because of the short term and long term capacity building."
Capacity building is one of the main goals of Pacific Partnership so in the event of a disaster, host and partner nations are able to seamlessly work together to treat and assist patients in a quick and safe manner.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.
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