Indo-Asia Pacific Partners strive for Global Health Interoperability at APMHE 16
Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono (center), Director of the Defense Health Agency, and Rear Adm. Brian S. Pecha (right), U.S. Pacific Command surgeon, listen to General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri (Dr.) Hj Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin (left), Malaysia’s Chief of Defence, during a press conference at the opening ceremony of the Asia Pacific Military Health Exchange. (Department of Defense photo by William Sallette)
KUANTAN, Malaysia — Nearly 500 senior military health officials from 27 different countries have come together for this year’s Asia Pacific Military Health Exchange 2016 (APMHE-16) to share experiences and strengthen partnerships during plenary and breakout sessions from Aug 1-5.
Now in its second year, APMHE-16 is a multilateral event focused on global health interoperability. This year's exchange is co-hosted by the Malaysian armed forces health services and the United States Pacific Command surgeon.
Malaysia’s Chief of Defence, General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri (Dr.) Hj Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, officially opened the exchange during a ceremony, which featured a Malaysian cultural and martial arts demonstration.
“It is not always that we’ve had the privilege to welcome so many distinguished people to our shores, and for that we are grateful to the United States Pacific Command for allowing us to co-host this important exchange.”
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency and co-host for the opening ceremony, said it is because of events like APMHE-16 that the shared commitment to global health security is more evident.
“Cooperation across the region is more robust. Joint initiatives to combat infectious disease outbreaks, support peace-keeping operations, and provide disaster relief are becoming greater in number and are becoming more effective. Military to military partnerships have grown even stronger. Our Malaysian hosts are to be congratulated for this great turnout and the quality of the agenda.”
The military health forum will include special sessions for physicians, dentists, nurses, medical administrators and planners, public health and veterinary medicine professionals, medical non-commissioned officers as well as sessions specific to ground, air, and maritime forces.
"This exchange improves the responsiveness of all of our medical forces," said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "We come together with a shared commitment to global health and regional prosperity. It is a continuous endeavor to ensure our nations are ready to respond whenever and wherever needed. We must be prepared to provide the best medical care possible in the event of natural disasters or other events, especially here in the Pacific."
APMHE-16 will include an Executive Track for Senior Leaders and attendees will have the opportunity to tour the hospital ship USNS Mercy, which is in Kuantan as part of the Pacific Partnership 2016 mission.
Representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United States, and Vietnam are participating.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with our partner nations in the region," said Capt. David Krulak, a U.S. Navy physician and command surgeon, Marine Corps Forces Pacific. "It allows us to build relationships that are invaluable during humanitarian and disaster response events. Working together in times of calm allows us to be better prepared when crisis strikes."
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