March 13, 2017 —
TRUJILLO, Honduras—Sailors from Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 2 used knowledge exchange and training events (KET) to help build partner nation capacity during Continuing Promise 2017’s (CP-17) visit to Trujillo, Honduras.
From Feb. 21 to March 2, the five-member environmental health team out of Norfolk, Va., held 11 KETs with 108 Honduran participants. Their 375 hours of training included topics on mosquito surveillance and control, solid waste management and public health disaster response.
“Our team is engaged in activities purposefully designed to further develop the public health capacities of the partner nations participating in CP-17,” Lt. Cmdr. Lucas Johnson, Officer In Charge of CP-17’s preventive medicine detachment.
One of these events was a workshop attended by 20 Honduran health professionals from Trujillo and its surrounding rural communities that focused on water production and quality.
“The United Nations recognizes access to clean drinking water as a prerequisite of basic human rights,” said Lt. j.g. Jhermayne Bullock, an Environmental Health Officer with CP-17. “Access to acceptable quantities of safe drinking water is a critical area that needs to be addressed and monitored to protect the health of vulnerable populations, especially children.”
The one-day course included a review of common types of water treatment and filtration methods, water testing protocols and basic water quality improvement techniques performed at the community and household level.
“Assuring the safety of drinking water can be challenging in any country; in resource-limited settings those challenges can be further compounded due to lack of proper equipment, training or consumable supplies,” said Johnson. “One of the goals of this training is to introduce sustainable, reality-based methods for overcoming some of these obstacles.”
The course culminated with a visit to a community water treatment facility currently under construction in Barrio Cristales, Trujillo, which will provide safe drinking water to more than 300 households.
While visiting the water treatment facility, host nation participants applied their training to identify several best practices for further strengthening the design and operation of the facility to produce the best water possible.
“This is what the Continuing Promise mission is all about,” said Bullock. “The simple yet sustainable methods we teach during this mission not only affect lives in communities we visit, they also strengthen partner nation capacity to improve the public’s health well into the future.”
CP-17 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian assistance, training engagements, and medical, dental, and veterinary support in an effort to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America.