Story Number: NNS140311-13Release Date: 3/11/2014 3:08:00 PM
By Lt. Cmdr. Chad Yasuda, Navy Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit Six Public Affairs
HONOLULU (NNS) -- A medical delegation from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) including the Singapore Navy Surgeon General, Col. Tang Kong Choong, visited the Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Six (NEPMU-6), March 4th-5th, to learn how the U.S. Navy conducts public health response and disaster relief.
The Singaporean visit coincided with NEPMU-6's quarterly field exercise to ensure proficiency in the unit's deployable preventive medicine capabilities in Industrial Hygiene, Environmental Health, Entomology, Preventive Medicine, and Microbiology.
The delegation requested the visit with NEPMU-6 to discuss the Navy's Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit (FDPMU) concept. The FDPMU represents the type of deployed public health capacity that the SAF Navy medical team is working to build to support their forces.
Col. Tang's team of technical experts included Lt Col. Vernon Lee, Head of the Biodefence Centre of the Force Medical Protection Command; Ms. Christine Gao, Head of Epidemiology of the Biodefence Centre; and two senior member technical staff of the Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Laboratories - Mr. Jasper Liaw and Mr. Victor Koh Wee Hong.
"We consider the U.S. Navy's FDPMU the best in the business and a model to emulate as we pursue our development of a similar capability," said Lt. Col Lee.
For the NEPMU-6 team it was an opportunity to discuss Pacific Theater concepts about specific challenges and public health threats. Sharing experiences, like NEPMU-6's 2013 support to Operation Damayan during the Philippine recovery following Typhoon Yolanda and the support provided by SAF in 2004 following the tsunami that affected Aceh region in Indonesia, helped establish a common ground and create possible new opportunities for missions that develop cooperation between the U.S. military and SAF.
Cmdr. Raymond Stiff, officer in charge at NEPMU-6, was enthusiastic regarding possible cooperative activities that may result from the visit. "As we continue to grow our global health engagements in Pacific, it is a great opportunity for us to engage with the Singaporean Navy," said Stiff. "We look forward to our continued collaboration in the future."
Partnership with the Singaporean military increases NEPMU-6's ability to support the U.S. warfighter by sharing ideas on Force Health Protection with a scientifically advanced country that combats and controls regional diseases not routinely found in the U.S. (e.g. dengue fever).
Face-to-face meetings like this also help to advance U.S. interests in Southeast Asia by building relationships with our regional allies.
NEPMU-6 is a field activity of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) and part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
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For more news from Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcphc/.