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News | May 5, 2010

JTF-Bravo provides medical care to 1,100 Nicaraguans

By Staff Sgt. Bryan Franks JTF-Bravo Public Affairs

Tucked away in the countryside of Nicaragua, more than 25 American, Nicaraguan and Honduran medical professionals provided healthcare May 3-6 to more than 1,100 residents in and around El Ayote.

This team made up of Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilians from Joint Task Force Bravo as well as Nicaraguan Soldiers and Ministry of Health personnel came together to treat a variety of illnesses including stomach pains, chest colds, skin rashes, and other illnesses.

"We worked with the government of Nicaragua to determine the best location for us to conduct this joint medical readiness exercise," said Col. Marie Dominguez, Medical Element commander. "I think this MEDRETE went very well and I know we built relationships with the people of Nicaragua."

This MEDRETE was set up into four sections: preventive health, pre-screening, medical evaluations and pharmacy.

Everyone that came to the MEDRETE went through preventive healthcare class where they covered topics such as hand washing, how to chlorinate water, cold and flu prevention and an explanation of the de-worming medication.

During pre-screening patients sat down with nurses so they could assess the patient's needs and get vital information on them to determine whether they needed to be seen by one of the doctors.

Everyone was seen by one of six Nicaraguan, American or Honduran doctors.
"We try to assess each individual's needs and give them the best immediate care available which typically comes in the form of some combination of medicines that the pharmacy provides," said Colonel Dominguez. "When we identify someone that needs on-going or follow-up care, we work with the Ministry of Health physicians to ensure that they get the care they need."

The pharmacy brought a variety of medication to cover a large range of aliments for the people of El Ayote. After more than 1,100 patients the pharmacy handed out over 2,000 prescriptions to the patients seen by the medical professionals.

For some, medical expertise was not the only skill that they provided... American Soldiers and Airmen translated for the nurses, doctors and pharmacy technicians to make the MEDRETE a success.

"I've provided translation during surgical MEDRETEs in Honduras but this is a new experience for me," said Staff Sgt. Lenin Lainez, a surgical technician who was born in Honduras but moved to the United States in 1997 and then later joined the U.S. Air Force. "I'm excited about being able to help out my Central American brothers in Nicaragua and provide medical care to the people of El Ayote."