New Zealand Defence Force personnel provided direct medical care "shoulder to shoulder" with locals in a recent Timor-Leste humanitarian mission.
Nine NZDF personnel took part in the two-week mission as part of the annual Pacific Partnership, which provides opportunities within communities for knowledge exchange to better prepare and respond to disasters.
NZDF worked alongside counterparts from partner-nations, Timor-Leste's government, military and civilian agencies, and non-governmental organisations to conduct community health exchanges and medical conferences.
In addition to helping provide direct medical care alongside local providers, NZDF members also shared their knowledge and skills on preventative medicine, oral health, nursing and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief planning -- including a focus on gender considerations in disasters.
Corporal Alex Taylor, a senior medic from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, took part in community health engagements in Gleno village, 30km southwest of the capital Dili.
"Gleno was a great place to work; there was always an abundance of locals seeking health care. I helped the doctors in assessing patients, and assisted in delivering the Basic First Responders Course for members of the Timorese Army and local firefighters."
Army Corporal Anatoliy Derepa, a dental assistant, helped deliver oral hygiene classes to around 2000 primary and secondary school students in the village.
"We provided all the children with oral hygiene kits, and taught them how to take care of their teeth."
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The NZDF contingent joined over 900 military and civilian personnel from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the US on board USNS Mercy.
Mission stops to Timor-Leste, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are scheduled in this year's Pacific Partnership. Japan will also lead a mission to Palau.
Natural disasters and manmade incidents continue to threaten the security, stability, and prosperity of all nations.