A ‘Continuing Promise’

Medical professionals speaking to group of people. (Embassy Image)
USNS Comfort medical team speaking with Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson and other representatives.

U.S. Embassy, Kingston bids farewell to the United States Naval Ship, ‘Comfort’ which visited the island from May 5 to May 14, 2015. This Mercy-class hospital ship’s nine-day medical stop in Jamaica was part of a nearly six-month humanitarian mission across the Caribbean region.

Hundreds of Jamaicans received free medical services the Comfort’s crew – including optometry, dentistry, general medical, women’s health, pediatrics, and pharmacy – at the two Medical Outreach sites at the National Arena and the Maxfield Park Health Centre in Kingston.

As part of our agenda to enable Jamaican health and prosperity, U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno noted that “The Comfort’s mission – providing free, world-class medicine to our neighbors – underscored the enduring friendship between our two countries and the generosity of the American people.”

Soldier and kids. (Embassy Image)
A marine from USNS Comfort hands out gift packages to children at Hope Valley Experimental School during an outreach mission

The Jamaica leg was part of ‘Continuing Promise’, a nearly six-month humanitarian mission across the Caribbean region.  Thanks to a successful partnership with the Ministry of Health, a total of 9,744 patients were treated at the two Medical Sites as well as 110 surgeries onboard the ship itself. 12,617 healthcare services were provided, including lab and pharmaceutical procedures. Collaborations with several non-government organizations and the Jamaica Defense Force resulted in 15 projects completed at Rennock Lodge All Age and Trench Town Primary school. The crew meet with their Jamaican medical counterparts for over 200 Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE).

Principals and students from the various schools as well as citizens who visited the different community centers have expressed heartfelt thanks for the crew’s outreach. These included renovations, engaging students in sporting events and donations of medical and school supplies, valuing over US$26,000, and humanitarian assistance equipment valuing over US$36,000. The crew’s band performances were a welcomed delight to all patrons at the various ceremonies making the Comfort’s humanitarian efforts.

The USNS Comfort last visited Jamaica during Operation Continuing Promise 2011.  In addition to Jamaica, the ship will visit ten countries throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America including: Belize, Columbia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

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