Having assisted the health officer of the Hambantota District Hospital to deliver a healthy baby girl, Patricia Kemp, Lt. Commander of the Australian Navy and nurse practitioner and midwife of the Pacific Partnership, said the emotional experience was one of a kind and that she was glad to have assisted in the delivery of a Sri Lankan citizen.
Daily Mirror had the opportunity to talk to Commander Kemp who arrived in Sri Lanka along with a group of medical practitioners on March 7. It was her maiden Pacific Partnership mission. “It was such an emotional experience,” said an overwhelmed Kemp while wiping away her tears of joy.
“The health services in Sri Lanka are very much on par with those in my country. The local nurse practitioners are equipped with vast experience. There was a Sri Lankan lady who had assisted in delivering 10,000 babies,” she said.
The team conducted a number of health campaigns, training sessions and medical expertise exchange programs with local medical experts at the hospital. Not only did the visiting team engage in these activities, they also treated hospitalized patients. Medical providers including ophthalmologists, audiologists, cardiologists, neonatologists and orthopaedic surgeons from the US, Australia and Japan came together in the medical camp.
This campaign could be considered a disaster simulation process where we had to prepare ourselves to arrive at the best medical solution depending on the scenario. This training enabled us to step forward fearlessly and to make use of our expertise,” one of the medical practitioners said. Apart from the medical exchange, one of the major events at the health camp was a Tsunami drill held to train the participants on how to face such a situation,” Hospital Director Dr. Sumith Manathunga told Daily Mirror. “We were unable to effectively utilize the aid received during the Tsunami tragedy as there was no proper mechanism. The visiting medical experts have disaster readiness experience gained from different parts of the world, which greatly helped us.