The hospital ship USNS Comfort and its mission “Continuing Promise 2015” arrived in Acajutla, Sonsonate, to begin two weeks of joint work with Salvadoran authorities which are expected to benefit at least 12,000 people with medical assistance.
The opening ceremony was headed by Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte, the Minister of National Defense, David Munguia Payes, Minister of Health, Violeta Menjivar and Commodore of the Mission, Sam Hancock.
In her speech, the Ambassador said that the arrival of this ship is a manifestation of the commitment of the United States to working with the government and people of El Salvador.
Surgeons from the hospital ship have scheduled 100 operations on board which have previously been selected and evaluated, in coordination with medical staff from the Hospital Dr. Jorge Mazzini Villacorta, Sonsonate. Surgeries will be performed during the stay of the ship include operations in the following specialties: pediatrics, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and orthopedics.
The mission includes two medical brigades, which are expected to benefit about 12 thousand Salvadorans with free health care. The brigades will be held simultaneously from June 17 at “Lisandro Larín Zepeda” School in Acajutla and the “Doctor Eduardo Enrique Barrientos” school.
“Thank you for allowing Salvadoran troops to work side by side with you to bring health and wellness to the Salvadorans with the greatest need, ” said General David Munguia Payes. Meanwhile, Minister of Health Violeta Menjivar noted the important contribution of the mission during their stay in providing health care and said the ministry will work together in medical campaigns, vaccination campaigns for children and seniors, and cytology for women.
The Commodore Hancock added that besides medical care, ship personnel will give seminars to humanitarian assistance, health and environment, and exchange of information with five NGOs and members of the mission.
NGOs, national and international, will make significant donations to contribute to the development of this mission. The donations include 491 hospital gowns and 171 hospital sheets, medicines and equipment for the National Hospital of Sonsonate.
There will also be an engineering component to the mission as well. The Comfort team will repair two schools- a Special Education School and a National Institute, both from Acajutla, benefiting hundreds of students.
The ship’s medical staff will be assisted by volunteer interpreters from five Salvadoran universities.
Continuing Promise began on April 1st, when the Comfort sailed from Norfolk, Virginia. To date, the ship has brought assistance to Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama. This is the fourth time the ship has come to El Salvador.
At the end of the mission, “Continuing Promise” will benefit about 100 thousand people of Belize, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama.