Hundreds of people in the rural communities of La Bodega and the 15 of April Cooperative, in Colón department, received humanitarian aid during a military medical operation carried out by U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo), June 29-July 1.
A team of 42 members of the JTF-Bravo Medical Element deployed to carry out a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) to support the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO, in Spanish). Twenty-five doctors and nurses from the Ministry of Health, 12 COPECO members, 12 units of the Honduran Armed Forces, and 15 members of the National Police joined the exercise.
The MEDRETEs provide humanitarian assistance to the local population and allow JTF-Bravo to train local doctors and maintain personnel readiness.
“The community response to this brigade was very positive, because we had not visited this area since 2017,” Dr. Wilmer Amador, JTF-Bravo medical liaison, told Diálogo. “Due to the pandemic, it was not possible to assist a significant number of patients, since the daily quota was limited. We assisted 660 people, and for them this was a very special event.”
For three days, the villagers benefited from general medical consultations and dental care, and received important information for disease prevention and health education. In addition, doctors performed 12 surgeries at the Salvador Pineda Hospital, in the city of Trujillo.
Among the most notable cases, Dr. Amador recalled the emergency situation of a woman who had just given birth.
“A midwife had assisted a 23-year-old girl, and the woman in labor had not delivered the placenta and her vital signs had dropped to critical levels,” Amador said. “A JTF-Bravo helicopter provided emergency air transport to the mother and child to the Puerto Lempira Hospital, where [health workers] saved their lives.”
In addition to providing assistance to the population, the JTF-Bravo team extended medical care to cattle in the area, vaccinating 499 heads of cattle.
U.S. Army Colonel Steven Gventer, JTF-Bravo commander, said in a statement that “conducting exercises with our partners strengthens our relationship while enabling us to practice our unique skill sets. As part of our enduring promise, it is through mutual trust and cooperation that we can overcome regional challenges.”