Beyond the Horizon 2017 planners meet with civic partners regarding upcoming medical event in San Ignacio

By Sgt. 1st Class Shana Hutchins 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE -- Command team members and medical planners from Beyond the Horizon 2017 met with Cayo district leaders April 27 to discuss operations for the upcoming medical event scheduled for May 8 through May 16 in San Ignacio. BTH 2017 is a partnership exercise between U.S. Southern Command and the Government of Belize designed to improve health and educational facilities by providing five construction projects and three health care events throughout the country.

The medical exercise will be at Macal River Park and will provide adult and pediatric medicine, women’s health, medical education, immunizations, nutritional counseling, dentistry and vision care to the residents of the Cayo district.

The meeting was coordinated by the BTH 2017 task force community relations team to facilitate communication between community leadership, medical professionals and BTH 2017 command to provide a more focused and efficient response for the local public before and during the upcoming event.

“This is a partnership. It’s not just the U.S. Army, we want Belize to be partners with us and show your folks we are one group,” said U.S. Army Col. John Simma, task force commander for BTH 2017.

The panel discussed the concept of operations and the personnel and resources involved in the partnership that will bring medical services to this region of Belize. This mission has the potential for a variety of medical staffs to collectively address health concerns and work together to develop effective, efficient solutions to be used throughout the region.

“We just want to make sure we understand the events that will happen from the May 8 - 16 with the MEDRETE (medical readiness training exercise),” said Melinda Guerra, Regional Health Manager, Western Region Ministry of Health. “Also, to make sure that we understand our role, know what services are going to be offered, and to see how best we can collaborate with Beyond the Horizon and our team from San Ignacio community hospital and our partners.”

Maj. Samantha Madsen, the BTH 2017 task force medical planner, said that one of the goals of the meeting was to convey to the civic leaders the importance of efficient patient flow and the sharing of information between all the parties involved in the medical event.

“I want them to know we provide legitimate real services that are a benefit to the community. More importantly, to identify people that may not be in their medical system that we could follow-up with the ministry of health,” said Madsen.

Both teams are dedicated to working together to learn creative solutions to health issues within Belize and the region, building partner capabilities, forging strong relationships that can be called on during situations that require cooperative solutions.

“We have learned partnership works very well,” explained Guerra. “Once you engage from the beginning, walk through the process then we’re able to play a better role. Because you know exactly who will do what. Partnership is much, much better because we understand our roles and we get to make new friends. We are embarking on a great event in days to come and (we are) happy that we have this opportunity.”