US Army Reserve, Ministry Of Health Partner To Bring Medical Care To Cortés
By Maria Pinel / Joint Task Force Bravo December 19, 2019
Twenty-two U.S. service members assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) worked alongside Honduran military and relief organizations to conduct a medical readiness training exercise in the department of Cortés, Honduras, November 5-7, treating more than 800 patients.
The exercise, which involved more than 70 American and Honduran participants providing critical medical services to local residents, also offered Honduran and U.S. officials a chance to engage in the combined effort to enhance cooperation in the region.
“The work our medical professionals have been doing alongside our Honduran partners makes a significant impact,” said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Woody Caulder, JTF-Bravo deputy commander. “We were honored to be in the community caring for residents with Honduran medical officials, as the U.S. commitment to promoting security and prosperity continues with our Honduran partners.”
During the multi-day exercise, local patients were able to receive primary care, preventive health, and dental and pharmacy services from JTF-Bravo medical personnel and local medical professionals. By partnering with the Honduran Ministry of Health to involve local doctors in the exercise, the impact extends beyond the last day of the event, ensuring local residents can benefit from follow-on care in their community.
Additional participants included the Honduran Red Cross and Honduran Navy personnel, who provided security assistance and translation between the patients and U.S. military personnel.
Dr. Dinorah Nolasco, regional health director in the department of Cortés, said the joint medical mission is a great source of support that helps the regional office compensate for some of the health challenges present in the region, including combating the high incidences of dengue and how preventative measures are important.
“We have had an ongoing relationship with the Task Force because we have been planning different activities in the Choloma municipality and they have also provided assistance at the Catarino Hospital. I hope you can continue supporting us, especially in preventive health,” said Nolasco. “I appreciate the support you are giving us and the collaboration from every institution present, this is a great help for us. On behalf of the department of Cortés, we say thank you, and we hope we can continue counting on your support.”
The medical engagements also benefited participants’ overall readiness by allowing them to operate in remote locations — skills that are key to being prepared to support disaster relief or humanitarian assistance operations at a moment’s notice.
“Not only do we have the opportunity to build partnerships and stronger neighboring communities by providing care with our Honduran hosts, but the participants are also honing valuable skills and competencies in the process,” Lt. Col. Caulder said.