U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, Oct. 10, on an 11-week medical assistance mission to South and Central America where personnel will work closely with host-nation health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras.
The purpose of the deployment is to help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems partly due to an increase in migrants crossing their borders and provide care to the appropriate communities.
Since 2007, the hospital ship has visited 18 nations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. During those missions, military medical professionals worked with host nation and civilian partners to provide medical treatment to nearly 390,000 people, including more than 6,000 surgeries.
The mission’s crew includes more than 200 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses and technicians. In addition, about 60 medical and dental professional volunteers from non-governmental organizations will be on board to support the medical assistance mission. They will be joined by a smaller team of civil service mariners who will oversee the ship’s operation and navigation.
During the mission, USNS Comfort will visit Esmeraldas, Ecuador; Peru (port to be determined); Riohacha and Turbo in Colombia; and Puerto Castilla, Honduras. During each visit, Comfort’s medical team expects to treat approximately 750 patients per day at each medical site on shore, and anticipate conducting up to 20 surgeries per day aboard the vessel. Specific dates for each port visit will be announced several days prior to the hospital ship’s arrival.