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News | March 7, 2012

JTF-B kicks off MEDRETE in La Ceiba

By Capt. Candice Allen JTF-Bravo Public Affairs

Members from Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element kicked off a four-day medical readiness and training exercise in the village here March 7.
"It's always great to partner with organizations like Mission Honduras LeMars, the South Dakota State University nutritional team, the Honduran military and the Honduran Ministry of Health to provide medical care to people in isolated regions," said Lt. Col. William Fecke, MEDEL deputy commander.
The team saw more than 300 people on the first day of the MEDRETE. The medical professionals treated illnesses including respiratory infections, skin infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"The classic symptoms I saw today were upper respiratory infections and abdominal pains," said Capt. Eric Baroni, MEDEL physician's assistant.

This is the second year the MEDRETE team provided care to the villagers in this remote area.

"I'm very happy that you've returned," said Isabel Soto, the La Ceiba chief of the Tolupanes which is an ethnic Indian tribe in Honduras. "You promised you would return and you kept your promise."

By traveling 10 hours in the rain and driving through several rivers, the nearly 30-person JTF-Bravo team kept their promise to the villagers when they arrived yesterday.

Mission Honduras LeMars, a non-governmental organization, provided dentists, pharmacists, and doctors to support the MEDRETE, while the SDSU medical team conducted a pediatric nutritional survey in homes within the surrounding areas here as well as created a nutrition station.

The MEDRETE team will continue providing medical services in the village of La Ceiba March 8.

The professional exchange between U.S. and Honduran doctors and nurses will allow for improved patient treatment and enhance the U.S., Honduran partnership.

In 2011, JTF-Bravo and Honduran Ministry of Health clinicians provided general medical care to 14,401 patients and dental care to 1,061 patients for a total of 15,462 local Hondurans receiving much-needed assistance.