NEWS | Sept. 23, 2013

Joint Task Force-Bravo partners with Honduran health care officials to provide surgical treatment

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

Joint Task Force- Bravo's Mobile Surgical Team (MST) partnered with the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran Surgical Association (HSA) to complete 40 surgeries at the Puerto Lempira Hospital in the Gracias a Dios region of Honduras during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), September 18-20.

The MST completed 14 surgeries to include hernia repairs, cyst removals, colostomies, and lipoma removals during this validation exercise while also strengthening JTF-Bravo's readiness. These procedures, which would typically cost $800-$1,000, were provided free of charge to Honduran nationals who have an average monthly salary of only $150-$200.

The work of the MST helped to support Honduran medical capabilities while continuing to build the relationship between JTF-Bravo and its partner nation.

"The importance is twofold. We provided surgical services to people in a remote and austere environment, which they would not have otherwise received while confirming the capabilities of the MST," said U.S. Army Col. Pedro J. Arroyo, MD. "At the same time we interacted and worked with our Honduran counterparts: Doctors, nurses, and technicians, to foster goodwill and diplomatic relations with the host nation."

In addition to the surgeries performed by the MST and the HAS, the surgical lights that were brought by the MST were utilized by the local Honduran doctors at the Puerto Lempira Hospital in several surgeries, to include six cesarean sections and 11 emergency surgeries.

Joint Task Force-Bravo's MST performs weekly surgeries in Comayagua and works a on regular basis to support 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.