CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and more than 15 volunteers from the Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) are in the process of renovating the Chuuk State Hospital at Weno Island.
Chuuk is one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia. It is a large atoll composed of several mountainous islands and islets with Weno Island as its capital. As part of Pacific Partnership 2008, the renovations to the hospital, which cost more than $80,000 and will benefit patients from every island in the Chuuk State, began Aug. 15 and are scheduled to be complete Sept. 11.
The renovations include repairing, painting and preserving several different facilities at the hospital including the female, pediatric and emergency rooms. It also involves the construction of intensive care units and family consultation rooms in the female wards. The Seabees and volunteers also installed and repaired several lighting systems around the hospital
"Basically we're trying to get everything as neat, as clean and bright as we can," said Construction Electrician 1st Class (SCW) Frank Higgins, the crew leader for the renovation. "We've already replaced 30 or 40 light bulbs, about 10 ceiling fans and painted; I can't even count how many square feet already.
"Hopefully the hospital maintenance guys will have a better hand at what is going here and be able to concentrate on some of the more troublesome areas that we are not able to get to over here."
According to Dr. Abram Ichin, deputy director for the Chuuk Department of Health Services, the hospital sees more than 100 patients daily, not counting patients from the emergency ward.
"They are doing a very tremendously good job here especially the wards and our intensive care unit," said Ichin. "People are going around saying, 'This is a new look!'"
Ichin said he appreciated the work done because the cost of supplies in his country can be very expensive.
During the 10-day visit in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Pacific Partnership 2008 mission also provided multiple humanitarian civic assistance in the form of medical, dental and engineering civic action programs. Micronesia is the last mission site in the Mercy's five-month humanitarian deployment.
For more news from Pacific Partnership 2008, visit www.navy.mil/local/PP08/.