Senior leadership from the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) alongside host and partner nation personnel attended the opening ceremony in Manta, Ecuador, June 28.
This year’s first mission stop marks Comfort’s second visit to Ecuador in less than nine months and demonstrates the commitment to strengthen regional medical capacity by providing side-by-side medical assistance with host and partner nations.
"The mission is off to a great start," said Otto Sonnenholzner, Ecuador’s Vice President. “Thank you to the government of the United States for bringing this excellent news to the people of Manabí and to all Ecuadorians."
The purpose of this mission is for U.S. service members and medical professionals to work alongside partner and host nations to provide medical assistance and help relieve pressure on partner health systems strained by several factors, including the Venezuelan migration crisis.
Comfort’s team consists of more than 900 personnel, including medical specialists from the military, from non-governmental organizations, and from partner nations, who began screening surgical patients June 27. This ceremony signifies that medical sites are fully operational and will treat hundreds of patients during its mission.
"This medical mission is the result of cooperation and coordination between the U.S. and Ecuadorian governments,” said Michael J. Fitzpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador. “It reflects the commitment to form synergies to promote the well-being of our people."
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.
This deployment is part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, www.dvidshub.net/feature/comfort2019, and www.navy.mil.