SPS 17 Sailors Donate Medical Supplies to Honduran Department of Health

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristen Cheyenne Yarber

TRUJILLO, Honduras (NNS) -- U.S. Navy medical professionals donated vital medical supplies to representatives of the Honduran Department of Health, Aug. 15, as part of Southern Partnership Station 17 (SPS 17).

The doctors and hospital corpsmen met with Health Region Number Two officials for the medical material exchange, with the goal of helping hospitals and citizens of the Coln Department city.

SPS 17 doctors commented about the key opportunity to provide valuable medical equipment to augment the various medical subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) performed in Honduras.

"Between the difficulties of obtaining supplies and the cost of them, this is going to be of real help for their hospitals, for their healthcare workers and definitely for their patients," said Cmdr. Rhonda Lizewski, a preventive medicine doctor with the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center.

The extensive list of supplies included-but was not limited to-gloves, gowns, sanitation equipment, laceration repair kits and solution for IV rehydration.

Medical team members sifted through their inventory to determine which items were essential for the remainder of the mission, and identified as much cargo as possible for donation to their Honduran counterparts.

Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 assisted in loading the donations, totaling nearly one ton, onto trucks, for transportation to Trujillo.

Lt. Bianca Chun, the senior medical officer and family medicine doctor at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, has conducted several SMEEs with doctors, nurses and citizens from the nearby community.

Chun explained that the Honduran Department of Health periodically distributes supplies and medicine to local facilities, which are free of charge to the patients. However, once the distributed supplies run out, patients have to pay for any additional supplies used.

"This [donation] may help the people financially as well as help sustainability around the medical field," said Chun.

In addition to the donation of supplies, the SPS 17 medical team also donated a CPR training mannequin to a local fire department.

"The mannequin will help them to be able to provide and teach CPR to their people, and continue the mission to help save people from cardiac arrest," said Chun.

Lizewski said the CPR training equipment could reach beyond the medical and first responder communities, because local firefighters typically travel to schools and teach students CPR fundamentals.

"It makes you feel good, to give people things that you know they need," said Lizewski. "That's what we do in medical. We're here to serve."

SPS 17 medical professionals are scheduled to participate in additional collaboration and knowledge exchange activities with medical counterparts in Honduras.

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