USNS Comfort Completes First Medical Mission of 2019 Deployment in Manta, Ecuador

USNS Comfort’s visit to Ecuador for the second time in less than nine months is an excellent example of our bilateral cooperation,” said Michael J. Fitzpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador when the ship first arrived on June 26. “It reflects our commitment to deepening our relationship with Ecuador and the region.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. Fourth Fleet / Edited by Diálogo Staff | 11 July 2019

International Relations

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class Azsan Purvis, assigned to the hospital ship USNS Comfort, issues medication at a temporary medical treatment site. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Bobby Siens)

During the USNS Comfort’s six-day medical mission in Manta, 320 medical professionals of the U.S. Navy and seven partner nations provided care for 7,799 patients and performed more than 120 surgeries aboard the ship. Ship personnel estimated that approximately 300 of the patients cared for were from Venezuela.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort is moored in the port of Manta, Ecuador. Comfort is working with health and government partners in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to provide care on the ship and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained by an increase in Venezuelan migrants. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Morgan K. Nall)

Among the patients who were cared for was Luz Trujillo who was treated for her knee as well as for gastritis. “I was really surprised with how quickly they saw me and I’m really thankful for the medicine they provided me,” said the Manta native.

“What we have accomplished over the past week will far outlast the ship’s visit to the region,” said U.S. Navy Captain Brian Diebold, commander of Task Force 49. “The medical staff has shared with me countless moving stories — from children getting their first pair of glasses to grandparents being able to see for the first time in years after a cataract surgery. It is truly remarkable what we are capable of when we work together.”

Along with the medical attention, the ship’s crew also offered community services, cultural presentations, veterinary services, sports activities and some technical improvements to the Manta Coliseum in the area of ​​accessibility.

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ashton Kang educates children on oral hygiene. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Maria G. Llanos)

Comfort’s team is made up of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru.

This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care on board the USNS Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in Venezuelan migrants.

This deployment is part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

The USNS Comfort has now sailed to Peru, and is docked in the port city of Callao — just a few miles from Lima.

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