Cambodia Medical Exercise 2013 begins
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Members of 3rd Medical Battalion participated in Cambodia Medical Exercise 13-2 beginning Aug. 5 at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The exercise, scheduled to conclude Aug. 17, is designed to improve relations and interoperability between the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and U.S. military through the exchange of information and experience in the field of medical care.
The group will also conduct the training in Takeo, Cambodia, and visit several important historical sites to increase their cultural awareness of Cambodia and its people.
The 3rd Med. Bn. is assigned to 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This exercise will show how the people here could benefit from a larger operation, while also providing caregivers with information designed to help improve their care,” said Navy Lt. Joseph LaBarbera, the officer in charge of Cambodia MEDEX 13-2. “We have brought (experts from) many different subject areas to include various medical and dental fields. This allows us to make the biggest impact possible in both Phnom Penh and Takeo.”
The Cambodian participants in the exercise are expected to pass-on the information and experience they gained during the training and exchanges.
“Approximately 30 members of the hospital participated in this exercise,” said RCAF Maj. Gen. Keo Davuth, the hospital deputy director. “All of the topics that were covered provided our doctors with knowledge and experience that they will take and share with their fellow medical practitioners to help improve our medical capabilities.”
The subject-matter experts from both countries discussed a wide range of topics from across the medical profession, working to share and build upon each other’s knowledge.
“The lectures went really well,” said Navy Lt. Joseph Grant III, a general dentist currently assigned to 3rd Med. Bn. “They asked a lot of questions. Hopefully this information will help improve upon their clinical practices.”
The U.S. subject-matter experts sought to make the most out of the opportunity by compressing the classes to fit the most information possible into the time allotted.
“We hope to help them improve their medical capabilities while also learning from them,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lawrence Decker, an emergency room medicine physician with the battalion. “And one thing we are trying to do is to convey our enthusiasm for taking care of the patients.”
The exchange and spread of the information from the exercise is intended to have wide-ranging benefits across Cambodia.
“We eventually would like to see the RCAF medical personnel push-out to the more rural areas and help the medical personnel out there,” said Decker.
“Each area has different needs, but overall there are some common challenges such as poor prenatal care and high-child mortality rates. We want to help them be prepared to better handle those situations.”
Service members from both countries embraced the training and put forth their best effort, according to Davuth.
“This is one step that has been taken that will strengthen and enhance the cooperation between our armed forces,” said Davuth. “The efforts put into this are important to us as medical professionals and service members of our respective countries.”