Over seventeen thousand Belizeans have been aided by the New Horizon Program under the US Military. Now they are offering Ophthalmological services in Dangriga. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.


“Free eye care is currently being provided to the residents of the Stann Creek District as part of an exercise called New Horizon. This free medical service which is being provided by a team of US and Canadian medical professionals commenced on Saturday, June 1. Dr. Phillip Castillo is the Chief of Staff at the Southern Regional Hospital.”


“We are very happy and overjoyed for this much needed service that has been provided to us by the visiting military team in connection to the New Horizon Program 2013. This program started with a visit to Arizona whereby we arranged that through the BCVI clinic, a list will be provided whereby patients in need of eye care that couldn’t have been sustained through the BCVI program, would receive that needed surgical care in this region. Along with that, on the 1st and 2nd there were prescreening program that were held by the visiting team in order to add more to the list to ensure that as many people as possible with the need for eye surgery could receive it in this region. We are indeed grateful for this service and the overwhelming response by the community and the neighboring village as they turn out for this needed service.”


“Dr. Richard Townley is one of the surgeons.”


“We got the pleasure of treating many wonderful Belizean people and increasing our training opportunities here in Belize. Over the course of the last week and a half, we have already seen over 281 patients that have come to our doors both from near and far and over the course of these last several days we have done 14 cataracts, 15 retina, other treatments and 22 surgeries with another estimated 20 surgeries left to come in the next couple days. This has been a terrific opportunity for our training and for our partnership with the Belize people here where we form an excellent relationship. Dr. Garcia who will continue to see patients after we depart; these missions are critical for our training and in order to become better trained doctors to operate anywhere in the world and have the opportunity to treat these wonderful people in the world, works out very nicely for us.”


“Holly Hess is the Public Relation Officer from the organization and she tells us more.”


“This exercise is part of an overall larger exercise called the New Horizon which is a US southern command exercise that gives US, Canadian and Belizeans an opportunity to train jointly in an exercise setting in order to be prepared to meet the future challenges. The total exercise began April 1 and is scheduled to run unit June 30. So far, we have treated more than 17,000 patients and built classrooms that can increase the capacity to educate and additional 400 children. Not only is this a great training exercise but this is a great opportunity to for us to build partnership with the country of Belize and we are very grateful. The ophthalmology mission will finish on June 15.”


“New Horizon is a US Southern command exercise which provides medical and dental treatment and construct need structures such as classrooms.”