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Navy medical specialists repair critical equipment in Filipino hospital

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The family of a Filipino baby suffering from meningitis will no longer have to go through an exhausting and round-the-clock effort to keep the baby alive, thanks to the efforts of U.S. Navy medical specialists.

Navy officials say specialists from the Pacific Partnership 2014 -- a partnership of several countries and relief organizations working to provide humanitarian aid to the Philippines and other countries in the region -- repaired broken ventilators in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital in Tacloban City.

Before the team arrived at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center family members of a two-and-a-half month-old child were using a hand pump to ventilate the baby.

When a family member needed to take a break from the pumping, they turned the efforts over to another family member. The family continued its work 24 hours a day.

After Lt. Cmdr. Luke Zabrocki and his counterpart, Hospital Corpsman Nicholas Beck, began troubleshooting the ventilator at the hospital on Wednesday they needed about an hour to repair the malfunctioning equipment.

When they were done with the repairs, Zabrocki and Beck hooked a ventilator up to the child, which provided constant ventilation, and allowed the family to rest from its hand pumping.

“It is amazing to see the host nation’s ability to be able to adapt to what they have,” Zabrocki said in a statement released by the Navy.

“Watching the family members take over and work with what little they have is pretty amazing. This is definitely a great experience to see what an impact we have made here.”

In a separate effort, U.S. Army veterinarians gave rabies shots to dogs and provided services to pet owners in Tacloban City this week. That effort comes after an increase in rabies since Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, slammed into and devastated parts of the country in November.

The typhoon killed more than 6,000 people in the country -- the deadliest storm to ever hit the Philippines.

Pacific Partnership is part of the U.S. government’s efforts, along with several other countries and relief groups, to provide humanitarian aid to the country and other nations in the area.

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