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August 2, 2012
FLGOFF Jessica Dagger took the
idea of 'wellbeing' to a new level by
seeking to find out what is wrong with
local water wells while deployed on
Pacific Partnership 2012.
On the remote Indonesian island of
Talaud, in North Sulawesi, FLGOFF
Dagger and her team investigated
why the local well water had become
"Currently there are a number of
wells on the island which the local
residents do not drink, and so they are
only drinking bottled water," she said.
"As this is not a sustainable water
source, our team of US Air Force and
non-government organisation special-
ists and I have been doing sanitary
surveys and water quality analysis on
these wells to try to determine
what the problem is."
FLGOFF Dagger, of 1
Expeditionary Health Squadron's
Townsville Detachment, is among
the 41-strong ADF contingent
serving aboard the US Navy hos-
pital ship USNS Mercy as part
Pacific Partnership 2012.
After collecting samples,
FLGOFF Dagger took them back
to the ship's laboratory to study to
try and determine the causes. In the
meantime, Pacific Partnership engi
neers installed sand filtration water
treatment systems for the wells nea
the hospital and police station so th
effectiveness of the treatment sys-
tems could be further assessed.
SURGEON SQNLDR David Stoney joined
the reserve eight years ago. At 67 now,
he wishes he had joined long ago.
"The military do things very well," he
said. "The infrastructure they set up on
deployment is very good and they also
provide care beyond just medical care.
"You see different kinds of injuries
in war zones, and on peacekeeping and
humanitarian relief operations you deal
with local populations where things go
untreated and are far more progressed
than you would see in Australia.
"As a result you can make a real dif-
ference to the lives of people beyond
your own community."
SQNLDR Stoney has been serv-
ing in Vietnam as a member of Pacific
Back in Australia he is the surgical
director for Maroondah Hospital in east-
ern Melbourne and the director for breast
and endocrine surgery for Eastern Health
"I was welcomed into the Air Force
and I've had the opportunity to serve in
Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon
Islands," he said.
"One of the great things about my
military service has been its impact on
how I approach emergency surgery man-
agement back home.
"After managing trauma in
Afghanistan it becomes easier to manage
it in Australia.
"It helps you to organise your mind,
so when you come to deal with severe
cases back in Australia the processes
DENTIST FLTLT Kate Aitken has been
working at free regional dental clinics
as part of Pacific Partnership 2012's
rolling Medical Civic Aid Project sched-
ule around the city of Vinh in northern
"When we first arrived at a vil-
lage for a five-day clinic the people
we saw were hesitant to have their
teeth extracted," FLTLT Aitken, of 3
Expeditionary Health Squadron, RAAF
Base Richmond, said.
"However, after a couple of days we
got more and more people turning up
and willing to accept treatment.
"It seemed that news spreads around
each community by word of mouth that
we are providing pain-free dentistry."
FLTLT Aitken said the Pacific
Partnership experience had allowed her
to vastly broaden her dental experience
through the access to a different group
"It's good to work with the locals
and to do some oral surgery that we
don't get to do much of at home," she
"There we do more preventative
dentistry because everyone has annual
dental checkups, so their teeth don't get
to the level of decay we are seeing here.
"Here we're seeing extremely
decayed teeth that have broken down to
the gums and are unable to be restored.
"We are also seeing a high preva-
lence of gum disease.
"Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of
opportunities within these communi-
ties to see a dentist, and there are some
dietary issues caused by high levels of
sugar in their food.
"There's also a general lack of oral
hygiene awareness, so we provide all
our patients a teeth-care pack [tooth-
brush, toothpaste and dental floss] and
oral hygiene instructions plus encour-
agement to see a dentist more regularly
in the future."
boy's teeth; far
SGT Craig Sharp
Dentists benefit from
Surgeon, 67, sees benefits
MAJ Cameron Jamieson talks to some of the
Air Force contributors on board USNS Mercy.
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