The U.S. Naval Hospital Ship- USNS Comfort , arrived in Belize on Thursday morning. Onboard the ship were over 1,000 crew members consisting of Navy doctors and surgeons who have come to Belize on a humanitarian mission. Two helicopters brought over 100 pallets of medical supplies and sporting equipment to be distributed across the country and according to Mission Commanding Captain, Sam Handcock, that is just the beginning. Our colleagues at Channel 7 spoke to Captain Sam Handcock yesterday.
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.
The team of doctors and surgeons will be in the country for the next 10 days to provide free treatment and surgeries to patients. About a hundred patients were screened at the KHMH and this morning they were taken to the USNS Comfort for surgery. Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon explained that process yesterday.
“When the ship is at a maximum capacity for patients, we can take up to 1,000 patients, if we were configured with staffing for that. We are screening here for patients. Approximately 100 patients will be pre-screened here and then we’ll take them down to the ship and will performed the surgeries on the ship. Each of the patients will be coming out with an escort, the night before, to get customized to the ship, relax a little bit and then we will start the surgeries in the morning. They will stay on board the ship the necessary time, depending upon what the procedures are and then will be discharged back
In addition to the free medical service, the US Navy donated 20 hospital beds to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and the crew held an open day event today at Fort George Memorial Park in Belize City. The team of medics will be at the Hattieville Government School and Independence High School providing a variety of outpatient medical, dental, preventive medicine, and health education throughout the day for the duration of the visit. The navy team will travel to 10 other countries after its operation in Belize.