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News | Aug. 4, 2021

Strengthening partnerships: JTF-B medical members provide care to locals in Atlántida, Honduras

By Tech. Sgt. Marleah Cabano Public Affairs, Joint Task Force-Bravo

U.S. service members with the Medical Element, Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, and Honduran counterparts completed a three-day Global Health Engagement, July 29, to assist communities in need of medical care.

During the engagement, approximately 30 U.S. military medical members conducted preventive medicine classes for 782 patients, treated 694 patients in primary care and 159 dental patients living in Las Mangas, La Frutera and Trípoli.

Most patients ended their visit by stopping at the pharmacy to pick-up their prescriptions from U.S. Army Sgt. Alex Mullen, a pharmacy technician with the Medical Element, JTF-B.

“I counsel patients on how to take their medications with my interpreter, to discuss possible side effects, when best to take them and what not to take the meds with,” said Mullen. “During this mission, I prescribed 1,328 medications. If we run out of a certain medication, I do my best to find an alternate medication that will help them.”

The team of medics were also joined by veterinarians who vaccinated 1,171 cattle, while a forward surgical section team conducted 10 general surgeries at Hospital Atlántida in La Ceiba to alleviate the region’s surgical backlog.

“It’s important to build these relationships so we can continue to go back to these places,” said Mullen. “This allows us to do follow ups with them, or even see new people that we may not have gotten the chance to see last time.”

As a task force under U.S. Southern Command, JTF-B has conducted medical, surgical and veterinary missions throughout the country and across Central America for almost 40 years.

“I think any mission we do improves our relationship with Hondurans and the people always say they want us to come back,” said Mullen. “I think we will, and hope to have the opportunity to return to these places and do more missions in the host country of Honduras.”

Members of JTF-B are committed to maintaining strong, collaborative bonds with partners in Central America with U.S. Southern Command providing direct support to the training and readiness of partner nations’ military and civilian health systems through Global Health Engagements across Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In the event there is a natural disaster, whether it be a hurricane, an earthquake or a volcano in the region, this allows us to do things that we would do in those crises that we can practice in a time of calm,” said U.S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, commander of JTF-B. “Building these relationships and this trust, now, is very helpful so we can action things during times of stress and friction.”