NEWS | June 26, 2009

JTF-Bravo concludes medical exercise in Poptun; more than 1,800 treated

By Tech. Sgt. Michael Hammond Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

More than 1,800 residents of the Poptun area received medical treatment during a medical readiness and training exercise (MEDRETE) held at the Brazos de Amor community center here June 23-26.

A team of 23 doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and medics from Joint Task Force-Bravo worked together with the Guatemalan Army, Ministry of Health, and local medics to provide the care. JTF-Bravo is based at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

"This has been a very rewarding experience, not only for the people of Poptun, but for our military forces as well," said Lt. Col. Joe Bray, mission commander for JTF-Bravo. "It is an honor and pleasure to be able to provide care to people who otherwise would not have been able to be treated."

The MEDRETE allowed U.S. forces an opportunity to practice medicine in a non-clinical setting and to treat some ailments not commonly seen in treating U.S. military members. It also provided a setting for working side-by-side with soldiers and medics from Guatemala, which fosters teamwork and an exchange of ideas and practices.

The four days of treatment were made possible by a cooperative effort between JTF-Bravo, the Guatemala Military Group, the Guatemalan Ministry of Health, the Guatemalan Army, and the city of Poptun. A private organization, Brazos de Amor, provided the facility for treatment and personnel supporting the mission.

More than 450 patients per day were given education and materials relating to preventative medicine. Following this, they were evaluated by triage nurses. Those requiring further care saw doctors and physician assistants. Finally, patients with prescriptions visited the pharmacy and received medication courtesy of JTF-Bravo's Medical Element.

The exercise concluded today (June 26).