By: Chaïra Flanders
Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 7, 2019 (ZIZ News): Members of the media were invited on a special tour on-board the Unites States Navy Comfort medical ship on Monday October 7 2019.
The media was first given a step by step safety demonstration on how to wear and care the safety gear and then the journey began on the runway of the Robert L Bradshaw International airport where ZIZ along with several media officials hopped on-board one of two US Navy helicopters.
The aircraft flew around the entire island of St. Kitts before making its way to the landing strip on the vessel.
During the tour, almost 200 military medical professionals, 100 care providers from non-governmental groups and 13 providers from various countries were seen offering services on-board the vessel.
Officer responsible for the helicopter division, Lt. Commander John Rashap said there are two Navy H-60 aircrafts that are responsible for setting up personnel and cargo at the various destinations. He said just about 30 thousand pounds of cargo is taken via helicopter to the medical sites on land.
Lt. Rashap explained that his team has been working hard to transport medical supplies and cargo from the one thousand capacity ship to the island.
Meanwhile, Director of Nursing services, Captain Charles Cather led the tour to showcase the 12 operating rooms where the hospital ship is providing service in the areas of general surgery (adult and pediatric) ophthalmology, oral maxillofacial surgery, orthopedic surgery, urology, plastic surgery and wound care.
He said his team is pleased to assist with the provision of quality health services.
Captain Cather also mentioned how important it has been to work closely with the Ministry of Health to do whatever is best to meet the needs of patients on the island.
The Comfort is flanked by US Navy and coast guard vessels and circled 24 hours a day by patrol boats.
There are a total of 15 medical wards to accommodate 900 patients on the bottom floor and 100 on the other.
The ship is also equipped with a fitness Centre, a bank, a barber shop and many other facilities.
The trip forms part of the Virginia-based ship’s five-month humanitarian mission to Latin America, South America and the Caribbean. St. Kitts was the 9th stop on the list of 12 destinations.
An estimated $34 million dollars supports this 5 month “Enduing Promise” medical mission.