KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- A dental team from the Japanese Ministry of Defense and Britain's Royal Navy arrived in Palau Aug. 3 to take part in Pacific Partnership 2016.
Pacific Partnership is a multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation, the largest of its type in the Pacific region.
JS Shimokita (LST 4002) is in Palau for the first time, serving as a base for the Pacific Partnership activities taking place around the islands. Pacific Partnership 2016 is focused on enhancing relationships and multinational interoperability through knowledge exchange and cooperative training, ensuring partner nations are prepared to collectively and effectively respond when disaster strikes.
During their time in Palau, the Japanese and U.K. dental team will work alongside resident dentists sharing knowledge and assisting with complex procedures. Using local facilities, their demanding program will see them spend 13 days treating patients in three different locations.
The team's first clinic was held in Belau National Hospital. Their skills were quickly put to use with a range of dental conditions.
"The dentists on Pacific Partnership are exposing us to new techniques which we will take on and use in the future. We are learning all the time," Dr. Beatrix Taime, dentist at the hospital and lifetime Palau resident said.
Alongside collaborating on dental procedures, the team will also visit local schools to educate children on the importance of oral health and how to care for their teeth.
"Working together with our Japanese colleagues and the local people is a great way to share experience and make a difference to the community in Palau," said the head of the UK dental team, Surgeon Commander Karl Drummond of the Royal Navy. "Co-operating in this way also means we will be better prepared to work together again in the future."
Combined with dental care, the Pacific Partnership 2016 program in Palau features engineering projects to improve the islands infrastructure and medical programs including cataract surgery until Aug. 15. Pacific Partnership is also in Kuantan, Malaysia, with USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) until Aug. 14, and will continue on to Padang, Indonesia, for the final mission stop of 2016.
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