Medical Exercises Wrap Up In Les Cayes

Medical Exercises Wrap Up In Les Cayes

By Dialogo
May 27, 2010

Eu era um dos intérpretes, as obras que os policiais foram realizar em Port Salut foram tão maravilhosas. Eram muito sensíveis e ajudaram o povo de lá a encontrar tratamento para o que sofriam...Espero que eles viajem a todo o mundo e ajudem as pessoas necessitadas. Deus os abençoe, Deus abençoe o Haiti, Deus abençoe os Estados Unidos. The grounds in front of the American University of the Caribbean were dotted with folding chairs, U.S. military personnel, Uruguayan Soldiers assigned to MINUSTAH and Haitians, young and old, filling in the seats on May 20. Everyone was there to celebrate the success of the Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE). “In the name of all the people of Les Cayes, I would like to thank the Navy and Soldiers who left family at home to come help us,” a representative for the mayor of Les Cayes said. “What you have done goes straight to our hearts. The work you have done has greatly improved the relations between Haiti and the U.S.” Although the mayor himself was unable to attend, Maj. Gen. Simeon Trombitas, commanding general, JTF-Haiti, Maj. Gen. Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz, force commander, MINUSTAH, and David Lindwall, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, attended as guests of honor. “Thank you [Cmdr. Rhonda] McLain,” Lindwall said. “Your team has done great things for the people of Les Cayes. What [the Navy] did in this country will be remembered for a long time.” Cmdr. Rhonda McLain, MEDRETE officer in charge, Operational Health Support Unit (OHSU), and a team of more than 40 Navy medical personnel, spent 10 days providing Haitians with immediate, basic health care. They teamed up with Uruguayan Soldiers assigned to MINUSTAH and local Haitian doctors to provide care for more than 4,100 Haitians. “This is the first time that [Uruguayan Soldiers] have had the opportunity to work with the U.S. and it is a learning experience,” said Capt. Nelson Puclei, civil affairs officer, Uruguayan forces assigned to MINUSTAH. “[The U.S.] is learning as much as we’re learning on the MEDRETE. It’s very important because the local population sees the two armies working together to achieve a bigger mission.” Uruguayan doctors and nurses worked side by side with the Sailors and said the MEDRETE was enjoyable. “It was a great experience,” Uruguayan Soldier Nicolas Gonzalez said. “It’s been very good helping the Haitian people and a very good experience working with the doctors from the U.S.” Other Soldiers with MINUSTAH saw a different opportunity arise from the exercise. “It was a very good experience working with the Haitian population,” Uruguayan Soldier Patricia Correa said. “We sometimes don’t get a chance to work with the locals. We learned a lot from the U.S. also.” With the assistance of the Uruguayans and the local medical staff, Navy personnel were able to focus on providing as much care as possible and focus on the mission. “The mission is to encourage the population to stay in the [Les Cayes] area,” McLain said. “We were told to focus on women’s health, dental, optometry and pediatrics health.” Patients were able to receive treatment from doctors, dentists and optometrists. “It went excellent,” McLain said. “My personnel put in 100 percent. If someone was done in their [station] they came around and helped in other stations. We’ve [also] stayed late to get the job done.” The staff expected to be busy and see a variety of complaints and illnesses. “We saw a lot of [complaints for] headaches, a lot of post traumatic stress like not sleeping at night, memory loss, all from the earthquake,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Judi Clauer, corpsman, OHSU. “The majority of the people I talked to lost someone.” She said she met a student at the university who lost his father and house. He was stressed and unsure how he would even continue school. “Every story touches you,” Clauer said. “A man was in a motorcycle accident, and I knew he was in a lot of pain, but you would never know because he just sits there and smiles.” Although most of the Sailors had not met before the exercise, many felt it went smoothly and was very efficient. “I think it went very well,” Clauer said. “It was well organized considering many of us didn’t know each other [two weeks] ago.” The team was not alone in their efforts though. The Uruguayans assisted in this MEDRETE and the previous one in Port Salut. There were also many Haitians volunteering their services. “We had support from the Haitian physicians and we had excellent interpreters,” McLain said. “I know that the country is in need of our assistance and I’m just so happy we were here.” As the Sailors prepare to part ways, a common theme continued to come up in conversations; Haiti and the strength of the people. “I don’t understand [their resiliency],” Clauer said. “I could never [continue on] myself. It’s amazing to me and because of this mission, I’m not going to complain as much [back home].” McLain noticed not only the courage of the locals, but the respect they had for themselves. “I think the Haitian people are very proud people,” McLain said. “Even though they may be impoverished, they arrived [at the MEDRETE] in their best clothes. They are very appreciative for the [health care] we are giving them. Every day there is something new that amazes me about the country.”
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