JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of Jamaicans are expected to benefit from the nine-day medical mission of the United States (US) Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) from October 28 to November 1.
  • It is anticipated that 150 surgeries will be conducted on board the ship, which is currently docked at Victoria pier, downtown Kingston. These include ophthalmology, orthopedic, oral maxillofacial, wound care, urology, and plastic and general surgery.
  • Basic medical services will also be provided at walk-in sites at Sabina Park and the Greater Portmore Health Centre.

Hundreds of Jamaicans are expected to benefit from the nine-day medical mission of the United States (US) Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) from October 28 to November 1.

It is anticipated that 150 surgeries will be conducted on board the ship, which is currently docked at Victoria pier, downtown Kingston. These include ophthalmology, orthopedic, oral maxillofacial, wound care, urology, and plastic and general surgery.

Basic medical services will also be provided at walk-in sites at Sabina Park and the Greater Portmore Health Centre.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, toured the ship on Monday (October 28), where he spoke with the doctors, nurses and other professionals who are offering their service, and thanked them for their partnership with Jamaica on this initiative.

“I am very impressed with what I saw. This is a facility that has nearly 900 beds, 100 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, over 1,000 staff members covering medical staff to support team. It’s a self-sufficient vessel producing its own oxygen, water, etcetera, and, of course, critical to all of this, are men and women, who are from different countries throughout the world, who are professionals, who go around the world and provide medical care to citizens of the world,” Dr. Tufton said.

“The facilities are very modern and the care is top-notch; it’s excellent care and I want the opportunity to thank those who are managing this process as well as the support staff,” he added.

Senior citizen from Kingston, Hylton Gordon, who was brought by family members to Sabina Park for free medical assessment and treatment after complaining of various ailments, said he was pleased with the treatment given to him.

“My eyes are not seeing well. I was tested right through. I got some tablets for my weakness. I trust that when I take the medication, I will start to feel much better,” Mr. Gordon told JIS News.

Another patient, Nadine Tucker, also expressed pleasure about the care received. I thank them for it. This is a good thing for Jamaica,” she said.

USNS Comfort has been on a five-month deployment since June to countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean in support of humanitarian and partner-building efforts as part of the US Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative.

For this deployment, members on the ship and crew will be providing medical assistance to Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as conduct logistics and liberty port visits to Panama and Curaçao.

The administrators of the ship are working with health and government partners in the beneficiary countries to provide care on the ship and at land-based medical sites, while helping to relieve pressure on the local medical facilities.

Since 2007, personnel involved in USNS Comfort deployments have treated more than 488,000 patients, performed 5,500 surgeries, completed over 100 engineering projects, and conducted countless other assistance activities.

It is the ship’s third mission to Jamaica.