by U.S. Army Sgt Stephanie Tucker
Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element
3/23/2015 - SOTO CANO AIR BASE -- Joint
Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL), with support from
JTF-Bravo's Joint Security Forces and Army Forces Battalion, partnered
with the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran military to
provide medical care to 5,352 people and performed 11 surgeries over
three days in the Department of Copan and Lempira, Honduras during a
Mobile Surgical Team (MST), Medical Readiness Training Exercise
(MEDRETE), and a Medical Partnership Exercise (MPE), March 11-15.
The expeditionary MEDRETE team convoyed to the communities of Candelaria
and La Campa while the MST group convoyed to the Jaun Manuel Galvez
Hospital in Gracias to perform the surgeries.
"I was impressed at the amount of support and coordination by the
Ministry of Health at Candelaria," said U.S. Army Capt. Steven Humphrey,
mission commander and officer in charge of supply with MEDEL. "The
cooperation between Joint Task Force-Bravo, Honduran Ministry of Health,
and Honduran Military personnel was phenomenal. Everyone involved
showed extreme compassion and provided excellent health care to one of
the poorest areas in Copan."
The JTF-Bravo team, the Honduran Ministry of Health, and the Honduran
military worked together to provide important preventative medical
information, anti-parasitic treatment, much needed dental services, and a
range of primary care services, including treating and controlling a
head lice outbreak in Canderlaria, resulting in improved overall health
for the communities.
"We performed 11 surgeries, which included surgeries on two little
girls. While these surgeries are routine in nature, the local populace
does not always have access to such procedures. Our collaboration with
the host nation hospital team, Dr. Martinez, Dr. Prince and support
staff allowed us to bring surgical interventions that improve the lives
of our patients," said U.S. Army Capt. Maria Forstner, officer in charge
of the MST. "Many of these patients suffer with pain, which ultimately
affects their ability to work and generally just enjoy their lives. The
patients and their families were very appreciative. This mission also
provided us with great training, especially in an expeditionary manner,
by deploying our DRASH tent, setting it up and actually performing
successful surgical procedures in it."
MEDEL also participated in a Medical Partnership Exercise with the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran Military.
"Both militaries coming together and working [together] shows the
Honduran community that there is a desire for both militaries to do
humanitarian works, and it reflects a positive image to the local
Honduran community," said Esperanza Chandler a volunteer at the MPE.
"The Medical Partnership Exercise at La Campa was an experience I'll
never forget! I was in awe at the amount of support the Honduran 17th
Infantry Battalion was able to gather for this Medical Brigade. This
exercise helped to strengthen coordination efforts with our Honduran
partners and enhance relationships with the Honduran Military," said
Humphrey. "I believe integrating our MEDRETE practices with the Honduran
Medical Brigade allowed both parties to take away positive feedback,
ensuring an even better outcome for future exercises and for the
Honduran citizens who were treated at this event."
Both medical teams commended the Honduran Ministry of Health and
military personnel for a job well done even in the toughest of times.
Joint Task Force-Bravo has been conducting medical readiness training
exercises since Oct. 1993. They have treated more than 401,360 medical
patients, 75,639 dental patients and 13,230 surgical patients throughout