USNS Comfort Begins Mission in Peru

The hospital ship is in Paitas, Peru to bring humanitarian assistance to people in need.
By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs | 5 November 2018

International Relations

A seven-year-old patient prepares to enter surgery, to repair a cleft palate, aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), in Paitas, Peru, the 2018 mission’s second scheduled stop. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Keith Wilson)

A team composed of more than 900 personnel, embarked aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), commenced their second mission stop, in Paita, Peru, as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative, October 30th.

“This first day has been incredibly busy with setting up the site, unpacking equipment and conducting pre-surgical screenings, which were organized by the Ministry of Health,” said Lt. Cdr. Peter McIntyre, officer-in-charge of the San Alfonso Medical Site. “Our partners, the Peruvian police, have been stellar in assisting with patient coordination at the site, and we have been working alongside Peruvian contractors to get both sites prepared for medical care later this week.”

Medical personnel, including military, non-governmental organization volunteers and members from partner nations, began screening surgical patients October 30th. The two medical sites were fully operational beginning, November 1st and continued seeing patients for five days.

“We have an incredibly robust team with a wide ranging portfolio of medical service offerings,” said Capt. Kevin Buckley, commanding officer, Medical Treatment Facility aboard Comfort. “While Comfort is here in Paita this week, medical units will provide preventative medicine treatments, optometry, dermatology, women’s health, adult medicine, pediatrics, and dental and surgical screenings to thousands of patients. Our medical team is organized, ready and always eager to help others in need.”

Mexican Army Maj. Didier Escobar, an optometrist, gives an eye exam to a young patient at one of two medical sites in Paitas, Peru. The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin T. Liston)

This is the sixth time that Comfort has deployed to the region. Past missions have provided medical treatment to more than 390,000 patients, including 6,000 surgeries.

"Medical missions are inherently complex by nature,” said Capt. William Shafley, commander, Task Force 49. “We have a longstanding partnership with the Peruvian government that I am confident will facilitate a smooth and safe mission execution over the coming week.”

Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas.

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