Militaries Join Forces To Help Residents Of La Macarena
By Dialogo July 01, 2012
In the town of La Macarena, 170 miles south of Bogotá, it is difficult to get
residents medical services because the town is far from the nearest metropolitan
center. Because of growing concerns for the people living in the town, the Colombian
Military, with support from a group of U.S. Army Civil Affairs Soldiers and a
Bogotá-based nongovernment medical organization called Patrulla Aérea Civil
Colombiana (PAC) conducted a Surgical Civic Action Program on April 27-28, 2012.
More than 1,000 Colombian citizens benefited during the two-day event.
Colombian Soldiers provided security while doctors and medical staff from PAC, with
the assistance of U.S. Soldiers from Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH),
based at Homestead, Florida, provided free medical care and general surgery
services. SOCSOUTH is the special operations component for U.S. Southern Command.
Medical services included pediatrics, dermatology, general medicine,
optometry, ophthalmology, dentistry and general surgery to remove or correct
ailments such as hernias, cataracts and lipoma, a benign tumor.
“We are here to bring solutions to some of the health problems in this
community and show the people we care about them,” said 1st Lieutenant Diego
Mauricio Quintero Franco, a Colombian Soldier who served as an operations officer
during the event. More than 150 general surgeries were conducted by PAC medical
volunteers. 1st Lt. Franco said more work needs to be done to provide services more
consistently. “The relationship we have with the U.S. Military and Soldiers with
U.S. Civil Affairs is tremendous, and we hope to continue this work,” said Franco.