Solomon Islands on Tuesday celebrated the inaugural visit by the US Navy Hospital Ship MERCY to Honiara under the Pacific Partnership-22 program of cooperation.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare attended the welcome ceremony he described as a “fitting demonstration of strengthened cooperation” with the visit coming shortly after the commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal earlier this month.
“Let me assure you that your visit is very welcomed and the services your teams will be providing to the people of Solomon Islands are most sincerely appreciated,” Sogavare said.
The US Navy Hospital Ship MERCY is one of the largest vessels that had ever visited Solomon Islands to provide services to support the country in four primary areas including Medical and Dental services where more than 200 activities, 70 surgeries and 1000 dental services are scheduled.
In addition, the US Navy Ship MERCY will deploy teams to Kilu’ufi hospital in Malaita province and Gizo hospital in Western province to support local medical teams deal with cases they have identified in these two provinces.
There will also be Construction and Engineering services where a total of 5 activities have been identified including three that are subjected to resources being available to support Fauambu and Dala clinics in Malaita, and installation of a volcano monitoring equipment in Savo Island that the US Geological Survey (USGS) in collaborating with the Solomon Government can use to provide early warning of potential volcanic activity on the island.
Other events include a host Nation Outreach where 25 activities have been programmed including Tuesday’s welcome ceremony, band and community relation events at local schools, beach garbage clean-up, sporting events, and collaboration with the Royal Solomon Police Band, and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief where a tabletop exercise combined with a practical exercise, with local disaster management officials will be undertaken.
“On behalf of the government and people of Solomon Islands, I convey to you and through you to the United States Navy and to the Government of the United States of America our most sincere appreciation for the visit by the US Navy Hospital Ship MERCY to Solomon Islands under the Pacific partnership program and for the services that will be provided by your teams of professionals to the people of Solomon Islands during your visit to the Happy Isles,” Sogavare said on Tuesday.
The US Navy hospital ship brought together a combined personnel from other nations including the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia on board the vessel.