NEWS | Oct. 19, 2013

Joint Task Force-Bravo provides medical care to more than 900 in Honduras

By U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) partnered with the Honduran Ministry of Health, the Honduran military, and the National Autonomous University of Honduras-Valle de Sula (UNAH-VS) Medical School to provide medical care to more than 900 people in Las Liconas and El Ciruelo, two remote villages in Department of Comayagua during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), 16-18 October.

"This exercise gave our medical team a chance to work with our Honduran counterparts, both civilian and military, and to build our relationship with the host nation population," said U.S. Army Captain Yasmin Alter, the commander for this mission. "Missions like this offer a great opportunity for enhancing the readiness of the MEDEL staff, as well as for the medical students from the UNAH-VS and the members of the Honduran military that were involved."

The JTF-Bravo and the Honduran military worked jointly to provide Preventative Medicine to 942 patients, including classes on hygiene, nutrition, and preventative dental care. They also provided dental care, immunizations, basic gynecology, wellness checkups, medications, and some minor medical procedures.

"Missions like this give us a chance to give back to the local communities and allows us to strengthen our skills as medical professionals and as soldiers," said Sergeant First Class Deborah Jones, noncommissioned officer for this MEDRETE. "This exercise gave us a chance to use our medical skills as well as enhance many of our soldier skills including radio communication, convoy operations, and driving military vehicles in difficult and unique terrain."

Joint Task Force-Bravo conducts MEDRETEs throughout Central America each year in support of U.S. Southern Command's humanitarian and disaster relief programs in order to strengthen civil-military cooperation between the United States and nations in the region. In coordination with the Offices of Security Cooperation and partner nation Department of Health officials in all seven Central American countries, JTF-Bravo treated more than 11,000 patients last year. Since October 2012, Joint Task Force-Bravo has conducted five MEDRETES in Honduras and provided medical care to 5,349 residents in Cuesta de la Virgen, Barra Patuca, El Aguacate, Olancho, El Rodeo, Usibila, Raya, Las Liconas and El Ciruelo. In the last 30 days alone, Joint Task Force-Bravo has partnered with the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran military to provide medical care to more than 1,700 Hondurans.