ALAMIKAMBA, Nicaragua –
U.S. service members from Joint Task Force-Bravo and the Nicaraguan Army and Ministry of Health joined together to provide basic health care for 1,265 Nicaraguans during a two-day Medical Readiness Training Exercise, May 18-19, in the rural community of Alamikamba, Nicaragua.
Alamikamba is located in the municipality of Prinzapolka in the Northern Autonomous Caribbean Coast Region of Nicaragua. It is an isolated, difficult area to access, where the rates of malnutrition and poverty are high.
The Prinzu Pawanka Hospital, a small, regional hospital, hosted the U.S. medical team and allowed the use of their facilities to receive patients from all across the region and provide them with preventive medical care, dental care, basic health care and pharmacy services.
"We thank you for your support," said Jaime Andrew Cho, representative form the Prinzapolka municipality. "We saw this opportunity as a dream because we haven't had this type of support in so long."
MEDRETES help validate the JTF's ability to perform medical care under austere conditions in remote locations, while also providing an opportunity to help the host nation and, in this case, build relationships between the U.S. and Nicaragua.
"It's really important for the U.S. Government to be able to show that we are good partners," stated Erin Markley, Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Managua. "Doing something like this, especially when it's coming from the U.S. military, is a great opportunity to demonstrate that we care about the people of Nicaragua."
During the first day of the event, Laura F. Dogu, Ambassador of the United States to Nicaragua, visited the village along with USAID and Embassy representatives, to witness first-hand the impact the MEDRETES have on the community. "This a very important display of how the two countries can work together," said Ambassador Dogu. "We are trying to improve the relationship between our countries, and this is an example of how we can do it."
The mayor of Prinzapolka, Eklan James Molina, was also present during the Ambassador's visit and provided an appreciation speech, thanking the U.S. Embassy and the JTF-Bravo service members for the support provided to his community.
"This is a message of peace, brotherhood and solidarity," said Molina, while beginning his speech, which was then followed by a traditional Miskito dance performed by the children of a local school.
JTF-Bravo routinely conducts MEDRETEs throughout Central America, developing relationships and allowing service members to work and interact with their local counterparts.