The United States’ Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team (LAMAT), in partnership with Guyana’s Ministry of Health, performed surgical operations and provided dental services, and also conducted professional knowledge exchanges from February 20 through March 3 as part of U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM’s) Enduring Promise mission.
LAMAT is a medical team composed of approximately 29 U.S. Air Force and Army medical and dental professionals and support staff who will provide free general surgery, emergency room care, and dental care at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and West Demerara Regional Hospital. Dr. Veronica Griffith, Ministry of Health Deputy Director for Regional Health Services, welcomed the team at GPHC. Dr. Griffith expressed excitement in developing the military-civilian partnership between the U.S. team and the medical professionals in Guyana.
LAMAT operations have been coordinated with the Ministry of Health and hospital medical directors to take advantage of additional operating room capacity without displacing medical providers. U.S. medical professionals will work in tandem with local doctors to ensure continuity of care following all surgical procedures. The team brings with it the medicines and supplies necessary for the operations and will leave surplus supplies with the hospital. Overall, approximately $225,000 of supplies are being donated to medical facilities.
Medical patients are selected in coordination with hospital medical directors, based upon the types of surgeries and procedures the U.S. medical team is certified to perform; primarily GI surgeries such as hernias and cyst excisions. The U.S. dental team will focus on treating underserved populations, concentrating on cleaning, fillings, extractions and preventative care.
“My team is humbled to have been invited by the Ministry of Health and U.S. Ambassador to Guyana to participate in this much needed operation,” said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Gentry Mobley, LAMAT mission commander. “It is important to the U.S. to provide whatever help we can to take care of people in need. Our team is prepared to engage in Guyana, whether that be in the operating theater, the dental clinic, helping with emergency room or experiencing the culture.”
In addition to Guyana, the LAMAT team completed operations in Suriname and will proceed to St. Lucia to conduct medical assistance operations, providing relief to overwhelmed medical facilities and improving the region’s collective ability to meet complex global challenges.