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News | Nov. 3, 2017

JTF-Bravo provides medical care in southern Honduras

By Maria Pinel Joint task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Service members from Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element participated in a three-day Medical Readiness Training Exercise at Comali, Duyure and Monjaras in the Choluteca Department, located in southern Honduras, Oct. 26 - 28, in support of the Honduran Ministry of Health.

There are several mission objectives to MEDRETEs, including providing U.S. military personnel training in the delivery of medical care in austere conditions, promoting diplomatic relations between the U.S. and host nations and providing humanitarian and civic assistance.

“Training is the center piece for military operations and MEDRETEs allow us to train with our counterparts while allowing us to meet our humanitarian goals,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Husing, JTF-Bravo Medical Element and officer in charge for this mission. “Today we are here in Choluteca and we are helping the people in need.”

MEDRETEs allow service members to engage with local community members in a unique and personal way by addressing relevant health issues and concerns, such as the lack of medication and vitamins available to both children and adults.

Choluteca received basic medical consultations, dental care and extractions, as well as de-worming medication and vitamins after completing a preventative medicine health class that will provide valuable information for the prevention of common illnesses.

The JTF-Bravo Medical Element team collaborated with local health representatives, various military personnel and volunteers, which facilitated communication between JTF-Bravo personnel and the patients, while improving their abilities to perform under austere conditions in remote locations.

“One thing that is very interesting about this operation is the coalition of people that come together to provide support. We have the Honduran Ministry of Health, U.S. Army personnel, Honduran military personnel as well as regional Honduran police - so it’s a big collaborative effort for this community,” said Husing.   

U.S. military personnel have been conducting MEDRETEs since October 1993. Since that time, they have treated more than 450,000 medical patients, 86,000 dental patients and administered more than 54,000 vaccines throughout Central America. Additionally they have participated in multiple surgical missions that have provided assistance to more than 135,000 patients. 

“MEDRETEs provide us the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder alongside our Honduran counterparts while strengthening our relationships and learning from each other,” said Husing.