The U.S. Naval Hospital Ship, USNS COMFORT, will visit Belize from April 9-18, 2015 and other ports in Central and South America and the Caribbean this spring. The USNS COMFORT works hand in hand with a variety of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to train personnel in conducting civil-military operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, while providing medical, dental and veterinary care, and engineering support to local populations.
While in Belize, the USNS COMFORT will partner with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Belize Defence Force, and the Belize Coast Guard to share and build capability through medical, dental, engineering, and veterinary events and exchanges. As part of the events scheduled for Belize, USNS Comfort personnel will partner with Hattieville Government School and Independence High school to provide a variety of outpatient medical, dental, preventive medicine, and health education services. These locations will be open to the general public for one free medical or dental service each day.
The U.S. Embassy invites media to cover the following events. Please R.S.V.P. to any or all events at BelmopanPA@state.gov or call 610-0894.
USUN Comfort Events in Belize:
#503200 - 04/10/1504:45 AMRe: US Naval Hospital Ship USNS COMFORT to visit Belize
The US Navy is here in Belize on a humanitarian mission. It's called the Continuing Promise mission 2015 and over 1,000 crew members arrived this morning on the U.S Naval Hospital ship - USNS COMFORT. 2 Navy helicopters brought over 100 pallets of medical supplies and sporting equipment to be distributed across the country. Today we met with the Mission Commander, Captain Sam Hancock and he told us how this visit will significantly enhance services provided to Belizeans and further build ties between the US and Belize.
Captain Sam Hancock, Mission Commander, Continuing Promise "We have quite a large amount, this is just the beginning of the supplies that'll be coming in but there's medical supplies that will utilize at the medical sites. There is engineering supplies for the building sites where we will be doing some fairly small engineering projects and then there is also a lot of donated goods that came with our NGO partners that some are home-based in Belize that we've also brought their teams on board. There's a number of donations, things from hospital equipment, beds, formularies and all types of things that we'll be bringing ashore. So a lot of the gear, actual medical gear that we'll use at the sites, as well as the supplies and then all the supplies that are remaining after the mission is stopped, we will turn over to the Ministry of Health for continue use here in the country. It's a main stay for our mission to come down here and with the use of the hospital ship, where in some cases we may come down without the hospital ship but the military civil humanitarian assistance is the overall mission of it - It's a critical piece in building the continuing partnerships between Belize and the United States. This mission is one of many that we conduct together, but I think it already has some of the biggest impact without a doubt."
Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander - Belize Defence Force "We stand to benefit greatly at least for the next 10 days, where they'll be providing medical support from small medical treatments up to surgeries will be provided to Belizeans free of cost. They'll be mainly based in Placencia, in the south and then they'll branch off to some of the villages as well and also in Hattieville they'll have a main base. So they'll cover the southern part and central part where people can come in and get medical screening, get medical tested and get treatment as well. Apart from that the Belize Defence Force in working with them closely where we'll provide transportation as well as security for some of the things that are coming in. This one that is here, we haven't seen this for a long time. We've had smaller missions similar to this but not on this scale. This is a pretty large scale because we expect at least about ten thousand Belizeans should be treated on this trip free of cost and apart from that we have the kids from the schools that will benefit from the sporting equipment and also schoolbags. We've had them in the past but not at this scale, but this is the on-going relationship that have been fostering with the US military and with other military's to come to Belize to partner with us and then provide good things for the citizens of Belize."
Surgeries On Comfort
As you heard in the interview, medical services will also be provided including treatment and surgeries. Screening for surgeries was done for over 100 patients at the KHMH today and as early as tomorrow morning these patients will be taken on the USNS COMFORT for their procedures. Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Captain William Todd told us about the process behind getting these patients ready for these medical procedures.
Captain William Todd, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon "The ship is very unique, there are actually two of them and we call them National Treasures. They are converted oil tankers and they are nearly a thousand feet long and over a hundred feet wide. They are both identical and the one that we have on this coast is the USNS Comfort. It is staffed up, so we have twelve operating rooms. When the ship is at a maximum capacity for patients, we can take up to a thousand patients if we are configured for staffing for that. We're screening here for patients, approximately a hundred patients will be pre-screened here and then we'll take them out to the ship and we'll perform the surgeries out on the ship. Each of the patients will be coming out with an escort the night before they get customized to the ship, relax a little bit and then we'll start the surgeries in the morning. They'll stay on board to see up the necessary time depending upon what their procedures are and then we'll be discharged back."
20 hospital beds will also be donated to the KHMH. If you are not on the list to be treated or undergo surgery on the ship, medical sites will be set up at the Hattieville Government School and Independence High School to provide outpatient medical, dental and preventive medicine. On Monday you can visit the Independence High School from 9 in the morning to 3 pm and on Wednesday in Bullet Tree Falls Village in San Ignacio from 1 in the afternoon to 3.
The Navy team will travel to 10 other countries after its operation is complete in Belize. The next stop is Guatemala.
TSgt Keisha Harris welcomes the USNS Comfort medical team to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the first round of medical and dental prescreenings! This is the final screening step for patients to be cleared. Once patients are cleared, they will be scheduled to receive surgery on board the USNS Comfort throughout the week.
OYE TOPIC: US NAVAL HOSPITAL SHIP, USNS COMFORT'S VISIT TO BELIZE
#503599 - 04/22/1512:17 PMRe: US Naval Hospital Ship USNS COMFORT to visit Belize
On Wednesday San Ignacio Community Police officers along with personnel from the BDF,US Marines, US Army and US Navy gave out hygiene kits, book bags and school supplies to to the student of both primary schools in Bullet Tree Village.
Primary School Children from Bullet Tree Falls in the Cayo District were on Wednesday of last week, the recipients of numerous gifts from members of the U.S Naval Hospital Ship USNS COMFORT. As part of the effort, teams from the Belize Defense Force, Belize Police Force, the United States Marine Corp and the United States Armed Forces South and Southern Command descended on Bullet Tree Falls to cheer children from both the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist Primary School.
In a small ceremony last Wednesday, children from the Immaculate Conception did the traditional ‘Hog Head Dance’ in appreciation to the visit by the U.S marines and companions.
Major Charles Lollar from the United States Marines told those in attendance that the U.S Forces are very adamant in protecting the children of Belize. Charles Lollar, who has been in Belize since January, said that when Belize prospers, children will also prosper. He said that he was appreciative of the friendliness of many Belizeans and the way religious faith is upheld.
Also greeting the US Marines was Rufino Pott, the Village Chairman of Bullet Tree Falls. According to Rufino Pott, Bullet Tree Falls, located about 3 miles away from San Ignacio and bordering the Mopan River, was given its name by the English. Rufino Pott told the US Marines that there are now 4000 persons living in Bullet Tree Falls.
“Thank you very much for giving us a gift to our children,” said Rufino Pott.
Gifts were delivered by the US Marines to the children while a band coming from the U.S Naval Hospital played on.
According to a Press Fact Sheet issued by the U.S Embassy in Belmopan, the 2015 deployment of the USNS COMFORT will further develop partnerships with nations of the region, to improve the collective capacity to respond in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the region. The program is supported primarily through the Regional Gang Initiative Program, which the U.S Government provides assistance to the Government of Belize for combating gang related crime and violence. The $40 million projected budget for Continuing Promise 2015, targets people of the Caribbean, Central and South America and has also brought much good will and cheer to the people of Bullet Tree Falls.