Continuing Promise Medical Team Fights Silent Killer

USS Kearsarge

USS Kearsarge

 

Joint military and multinational medical personnel treated patients from toddlers to adults for parasitic infections Aug. 29 at San Cristobal Hospital, Colombia, in support of the humanitarian assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

CP is a collaborative effort between the United States and partner militaries, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and partner-nation support organizations to build strong partnerships that can be called upon in the event of a regional situation requiring cooperative solutions.

“This fight is for the greater good,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Melisa Tracey. “I have the opportunity to work with joint forces and be involved in a humanitarian mission to combat a silent killer [parasites] and help these people. We may only be able to treat and educate a small portion of this community, but hopefully it will be a catalyst for change.”

Parasites flourish in poor sanitation areas and infest non-treated water supplies. They can cause various health problems but can be recognized and treated.

“We must educate communities about poor sanitation habits and clean up the environment to eradicate this problem,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Adelina Luna, preventive medicine technician, Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command. “This is a fight against a parasite that robs young children to adults of their nutrients and is not easily removed.”

Humans have been plagued with parasites for thousands of years. Older generations of people used home remedies to remove parasites. Today, healthcare providers from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) treat patients with a modern remedy called Pin-X.

“We are treating the people who come here to receive humanitarian assistance with de-worming medication, but this is a small portion of the population,” said Luna, who hopes missions like Continuing Promise go forward to educate the population to take care of themselves and their environment to eradicate diseases.

After Colombia, Kearsarge will visit Panama, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.
The mission of CP is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The CP Caribbean Phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first CP deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.

Emmitt J. Hawks (NNS)

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