CASTRIES, Saint Lucia (NNS) -- The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Saint Lucia following the completion of the ship’s eighth medical mission in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, Oct. 2.
“This has been a landmark visit that attests to the continued commitment of the United States to Saint Lucia and the Caribbean,” said U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, Linda S. Taglialatela. “I have to say thank you to the people of Saint Lucia, you have been a steadfast partner and friend, and we want to continue that for many years. We are stronger and healthier together.”
During the Comfort’s six-day mission in Castries, 800 medical professionals provided care for 4,846 patients at two separate shore-based medical sites and performed 79 surgeries aboard the ship, including cataract removal, hernia repair, and a bladder prolapse repair.
“The team of people you all have is like they got cream-of-the-crop from everywhere and put them on the boat,” said Ms. Cothilda Alexander, who visited Comfort for the bladder prolapse repair. “I’m in no pain right now; I feel excellent and I think the doctor did an expert job on me.”
Saint Lucian officials thanked Comfort’s crew for their hard work and praised the lasting impact this partnership will have in the region.
“Saint Lucia is extremely grateful to be collaborating with your team on such an important and necessary mission,” said Saint Lucian Prime Minister, Allen M. Chastanet. “We are confident this is just the beginning of a strong and long-term collaboration in this area. We have heard the numerous positive feedback from our people who have utilized these services.”
The Comfort’s mission is accomplished through the efforts of medical and non-medical personnel. The entire Comfort team is comprised of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, as well as several non-government organizations creating a dynamic team capable of delivering a variety of services.
This marks the first Comfort visit to Saint Lucia and the seventh to the region since 2007. At each of the upcoming missions, the embarked medical teams will provide care aboard the Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems, including those strained by an increase in cross-border migrants.
This deployment is a part of the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
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