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Apr 10, 2015

U.S. Naval Ship Makes First Stop In Belize

The US naval Hospital ship, named the USNS Comfort sailed into Belizean waters earlier this week. It’s the first stop of a tour in the Caribbean and Central and South America. The USNS COMFORT has partnered with the Ministry of Health, B.D.F. and Belize Coast Guard to provide services and build capacity in a number of areas. The official launch of the USNS COMFORT’s Continuing Promise Mission 2015 kicked off today in Belize City. Andrea Polanco was at the opening.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The USNS COMFORT is in Belize and the team will be providing multiple services, including medical treatment, on a mission called Continuing Promise 2015.

 

Carlos Moreno

H.E Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador to Belize

“The USNS Comfort is here to provide medical, dental and veterinary care, humanitarian assistance and engineering support to local citizens and institutions. Those mentioning that it is a unilateral affair, it is not. The USNS Comfort crew along with personnel of the U.S Embassy has been working hand in hand with several facets of the Government of Belize.”

 

It is expected that over a thousand Belizeans will benefit from the different services, estimated to be around one million US dollars.

 

Kenneth Tovo

Lt. General Kenneth Tovo, US Army Deputy Commander, U.S Southern Command

“Over a hundred and seventy civilian and military and medical personnel from the U.S and Belize, in addition to environment health professionals, veterinarians, engineers and representatives from over seventy non-governmental and international organizations, for one important purpose, to make a difference over the course of the next eight or nine days in the lives of Belizean citizens. The crew and staff of the USNS Comfort will work with their Belizean counterparts on a range of issues including health and transport responders and medical personnel. NGO’s like the Latter Day Saints, charities and the message program have donated three hundred and twenty nine pallets of medical and humanitarian supplies and over a million dollars worth of services to help the citizens of Belize. We look forward to the positive impact at the Ladyville Health Center, Independence Polyclinic and Bella Vista Health Center. We are also excited for our planned environmental and veterinary exchanges at BAHA and the Belize Zoo, just to name a few of the activities that we are doing over the course of the next two weeks.”

 

 

The services onboard the USNS COMFORT were rolled out today.  Mission Commander Captain Hancock says that this mission will further strengthen the relationship between the U.S and Belize.

 

Sam Hancock

Captain Sam Hancock, Mission Commander, Continuing Promise

“We are here to strengthen ties, supporting our partnership with Belize. Partnership that will enhance our shared values, our interest and commitment to unity, security and stability within this region.   We are ready to roll up our sleeves and go out and make this mission happen, so thank you all for this wonderful ceremony to kick this off and what you will see over the next week will be incredible. There is a lot of work to be done and it will benefit both the United States and Belize.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

 

Screening has been ongoing at the K.H.M.H. for those to seek treatment and surgery on board the USNS COMFORT. The visiting teams will be at the Hattieville Government School and Independence High School to provide a number of outpatient medical, dental, preventive medicine and health education services. These locations will be open to the general public for one free medical or dental service each day.

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