The SEA Spirit Foundation proposes to operate a U.S.-flagged hospital ship dedicated to the ASEAN region. It will operate full-time among suitable ports in the 9 maritime ASEAN countries and serve all 10 ASEAN nations. The hospital ship will serve two equally important functions:
As a teaching hospital it will supplement ASEAN medical training through education and exchange programs with professional counterparts from all 10 ASEAN nations, focused on disaster medicine, pediatrics, and women's health.
As a disaster relief hospital ship based in ASEAN, it will respond within days to natural disasters in the region, providing an invaluable boost to U.S. and ASEAN military and civilian relief efforts. In addition to immediate response capabilities, its training programs will boost ASEAN’s own disaster relief capabilities.
The SEA Spirit Foundation continues the tradition of U.S. leadership in a vital region by both private and public entities demonstrating their commitment in a visible, cost-effective, and meaningful way to respond to natural disasters;
SSF will provide ongoing and timely humanitarian assistance, by building partner capacity with regular bi-lateral and multilateral training and teaching opportunities;
SSF will enable a regionally based hospital ship to reach a disaster area within days instead of weeks. Currently there is no hospital ship in ASEAN, and limited capability to respond absent significant mobilization of regional and U.S. military assets;
The SEA Spirit Foundation will significantly expand high-quality medical education, training, and health care, particularly for pracitioners helping children and women. By expanding the number of practitioners in each ASEAN country expertly trained in medicine and disaster relief, SSF will contribute to the creation of a true ASEAN medical corps;
SSF establishes a ready platform for companies with a commitment to CSR, especially those in the health, ICT and maritime sectors, to channel support for health and disaster relief in ASEAN. It will enable budgeting of regular contributions and ameliorate ‘disaster fatigue’. It also provides a vehicle to showcase products and services to ASEAN medical personnel while contributing to a healthy ASEAN workforce and opportunities for ASEAN economic growth, and prosperity.
The SEA Spirit Foundation will draw upon the lessons of prior efforts, yet develop a fundamentally modern platform for medical education, disaster training and response.
The traveling hospital ship model has a rich and successful history. The U.S. Navy currently operates two dedicated hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy, sister ships which started life as oil tankers before entering service as hospital ships. The ships have provided emergency care for U.S. military personnel in conflict zones, and responded to natural disasters throughout the world. Each ship currently has 12 operating rooms and can serve up to 1000 patients at a time.
The model of a private-public partnership for delivery of medical services was pioneered by the S.S. Hope. From 1960 to 1974, the S.S. Hope, once the USS Consolation, undertook 11 voyages throughout the world, offering teaching and healing everywhere it went. The work done by the S.S. Hope lives on through the Project Hope Foundation.
The charity Mercy Ships has operated four different hospital ships since 1978. It currently operates the 500-foot Africa Mercy. Cumulatively, Mercy Ships have visited more than 60 countries, performing more than 79,000 operations, 278,000 dental procedures, and serving more than 530,000 patients.
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