THE Department of Health and Wellness has declared the medical humanitarian mission of the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Comfort to be a success. The mission was held from Monday September 23rd to Tuesday October 1st 2019. Medical humanitarian clinics were set up at the Owen King European Hospital (OKEU) and the National Cultural Centre as part of the mission. The clinics were opened to the public for six days during which clients came in for dental and eye care, paediatric medicine, adult medicine and specialized medical services. A total of 4846 clients were declared to have benefited from the services of the two clinics during that time.
A total of seventy-nine Saint Lucians were reported to have received surgical procedures aboard the USNS Comfort in addition to forty-eight persons who received echocardiograms. One thousand, six hundred and sixty five clients received adult medicine, 264 received paediatric medicine, 756 clients were provided with dental services and 2161 clients received eye care.
On the ground, assisting with the humanitarian mission were the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA); the Police and Immigrations Departments of the Ministry of Home Affairs; the Saint Lucia Fire Service; and the Ministry of Health, which was responsible for the day to day operations of the clinics.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to express its gratitude to the general public for supporting the medical humanitarian mission of the USNS Comfort. At a post briefing of the humanitarian mission, Irene Gaspard, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Department of External Affairs, stated, “Saint Lucians have done well; we applaud you for that; for the level of cooperation and understanding, and hopefully other opportunities for healthcare will surface and hopefully that will be self sustained and not a thing from Comfort, but right here in saint Lucia.” Gaspard added that persons were very cooperative when they were turned away after the clinics had reached their quota of patients for the day. She further noted, “Overall, the mission was a successful one and we want to thank everyone for that.”