Continuing Promise Completes Mission in El Salvador
By Dialogo August 01, 2011
USNS Comfort and the Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11) mission team departed Acajutla, El Salvador, on 24 July, after providing medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services to the country.
“The El Salvador mission stop is a great one,” said Cmdr. William Scouten, a pediatrician on board. “I was here in 2005 and this is one of the countries where they actually have a fairly robust health care system. We see that here with all of the health education being conducted outside of the site by our host nation partners.”
The CP11 mission team on board Comfort is made up of military members and NGO volunteers who have come together in the spirit of helping people.
Four Salvadoran medical providers worked side-by-side with the embarked CP11 team at three medical sites.
“I’m very thankful because I have worked with the Comfort crew before in 2007 and it has always been a very comfortable and pleasant experience,” said Elsa Noemi Jimenez-Martinez, a Salvadoran dentist. “I feel like we join as a family, as well as associates, when we are working together with the objective of providing service to the people who really need it, which is the most important thing.”
In addition to general medicine and dental care, patients received optometric and pediatric care, as well as physical therapy treatment.
“It’s an extreme honor to be here. I’m having a wonderful time and I’ll take many of the lessons that I’ve learned here back with me to my practice in America,” said Air Force Capt. Kristine Andrews, a pediatric resident from Portsmouth Naval Medical Center.
The team of U.S. and partner nation medical professionals diagnosed and treated 8,257 patients during the mission stop at all three sites. The CP11 team performed 113 surgeries, filled 14,077 prescriptions and saw 2,318 optometry patients. The CP11 veterinary team treated 380 animals at 14 different sites throughout El Salvador, bringing the total number of animal care sites for the mission to 92. The Seabee and Marine Corps construction team completed engineering projects at two different schools in the country.
Comfort will continue the CP11 mission in Costa Rica and Haiti, the eighth and ninth mission stops.