US Navy announces hospital ship’s mission stops in South America

US Navy file photo of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) off the coast of Colombia.

US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is beginning another deployment to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean mid-June to deliver medical assistance in response to the humanitarian crisis created by the ongoing political and economic instability in Venezuela.

During its five-month deployment, Comfort medical teams will pull in to Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago for working port visits.

“This deployment responds directly to the man-made crisis Maduro’s regime has created,” said US Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of US Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. “Comfort medical teams will be working alongside host nation medical professionals who are absorbing thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.”

From October to December 2018, Comfort completed its sixth deployment, an 11-week deployment for medical support to Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, helping more than 26,700 patients in need, including 599 onboard surgeries.

This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. As with the last deployment, the plan is to embark medical professionals from partner nations to join in the effort to provide medical care to patients. The deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas.

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