Sailors Bring Medical Care to Honduran Villages

Cross-post from United States Southern Command

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Kuzlik
Beyond the Horizon Public Affairs

Optometrist Cmdr. Louis Perez uses a retinascope and lens rack to check 9-year-old Sergio Colocho´s eyes in Capiro. (Photo courtesy of Ron Kuzlik)

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras– US Navy personnel from Operational Health Support Unit (OHSU) Dallas, Texas, completed two days of medical services to over 700 villagers in Agua Salada, Honduras, as part of their commitment to Beyond the Horizon 2009 – Honduras.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Michael Behrendt of Corpus Christi, Tex., explains the different uses and proper dosages of certain pharmaceutical prescriptions to villagers of Aguacatal. (Photo courtesy of Ron Kuzlik)

From March 25 to April 4, the Navy team of 32 Reserve component doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists and hospital corpsmen provided general medical care and diagnosis, dental check-ups and extractions, eye exams, prescription services and preventative care lessons to six different villages in rural Honduras.

Pharmacist Lt. Cmdr. Willie Hunter counts tablets to fill a prescription for villagers of Capiro. (Photo courtesy of Ron Kuzlik)

“The main purpose of the mission for OHSU Dallas is training: deploying to an austere environment, providing care and redeploying safely,” said Lt. Cmdr. Deborah Greubel, a nurse practitioner overseeing the unit’s efforts in Honduras.

Sgt. Odessa Torrez assists Col. Michael Jung as he performs a dental filling on a Honduran girl during a dental readiness training exercise at the Lions Club in Comayagua. (Photo courtesy of Spc. Christopher Wellner)

“In the middle of this deployment, our team touches the hearts and minds of the Honduran people. In return, they welcome us graciously and share with us their culture and kindness.” Medical care is very limited, Greubel said: “Most of the remote sites we visit here are in great need. Medical care is sparse, even the most basic of needs are unmet. Water is a rare commodity, electricity a luxury. An act as simple as giving a pair of glasses changes tremendously the quality of life of these gracious people.”

Dentist Cmdr. David Reiter and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Amy Brown prepared to remove a molar from 11-year-old Isabel in Agua Salada. (Photo courtesy of Ron Kuzlik)

“There were a lot of needy people who desperately needed our help,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Roger McCune of Parsons, Kan. “I’m hoping that what we’re doing here continues to foster a positive image of the United States and our armed forces with the Honduran people.”

Nurse practitioner Lt. Cmdr Deborah Greubel takes time out from her duties to chat with children from Aguacatal. (Photo courtesy of Ron Kuzlik)

“The people were very appreciative,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Ridder, a nurse practitioner from Augusta, Kan. “You could see it in their faces and all said, ‘Gracias.’ Some even said, ‘Thank you’ in an attempt to speak a little English with us.”

Operational Health Support Unit (OHSU) Dallas is one of the Navy Reserve’s medical field units.

Like the New Horizons program which began in the mid-1980s, the US Southern Command-sponsored Beyond the Horizon program deploys U.S. military engineers and medical professionals to Caribbean and Central and South American nations for training and to provide humanitarian support. Missions for 2009 include Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Honduras, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.

United States Southern Command

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