Nov 15, 2008 News
Thousands in the North West District stand to benefit from the USS Kearsarge’s Humanitarian Mission to Guyana. The medical contingent has set up shop at Santa Rosa, Moruca, and will be there until November 21.
Yesterday, scores of doctors, a representative part of the mission that travelled to Guyana, were stationed at the Kumaka District Hospital. Those doctors tended to various ailments afflicting the residents of the NWD, and received the necessary praise.
Also accompanying the mission to the North West District yesterday was US Ambassador to Guyana, John Jones.
The officer in charge of the site, Dave Damstra, told this newspaper that he was impressed with the proactive way in which the residents in the area dealt with health issues and aid charts.
He said that, overall, the persons living in that area were generally healthy, which was a reflection of excellent eating habits and their proactive nature towards their health.
Damstra also lauded the local health care providers, who he said were obviously doing a great job, especially since one health centre serviced thousands over an expansive environment.
According to Damstra, most people in the area had similar common ailments, including a variety of aches about the body, and occasional fevers, among others.
He noted that the more high-demand services that had to be addressed were ophthalmology, where the doctors would, to a variety of eye tests, fit persons with the appropriate spectacles.
Damstra also pointed to the dental services as another of the high-demand services wherein there were a lot of extractions, repairs, as well as teeth cleaning.
According to Damstra, there was also a team of US medical experts from the Kearsarge at Mabaruma, assisting the residents. From tomorrow the team will be moving to Port Kaituma, to extend its services there.
Cassandra Rodriquez, the Assistant Regional Executive Officer for the Moruca Sub Region, who welcomed the delegation, said that she was very appreciative of the humanitarian mission’s visit to her region. She recollected that the last time a mission of such a magnitude was in that region she was a little girl.
She added that she was hopeful it was not the end, and was optimistic that in the years to come the US humanitarian missions would continue.
Rodriquez was also thankful to the US for providing fuel to transport residents to the health centre, given the layout of the area and the fact that there were 10 villages with some 16,000 residents.
She noted, however, that it was not each of the 16,000 persons who would require medical services at the time. As such, local health workers assessed the various persons in the villages to determine who would require treatment for the various ailments.
Commanding Officer of the USS Kearsarge, Captain Frank Ponds, was also a part of the delegation to Moruca. He presented the community with a plethora of medical supplies, food stuff and educational material, which were received by the local Medex, who was very appreciative of the gesture by the US.
Prior to the presentation of what is obviously very valuable medical supplies among other materials, the Amerindians in the village presented the Ambassador and the Commanding Officer with a gift that appeared to be local handicraft.
“I don’t know what it is that you have given to me, or what it contains but I know that it comes from the heart as is the case with the supplies and services we have brought…The men and women you see before you in uniform have all volunteered their services to help you, the people of Guyana.”
According to Captain Ponds, the mission in Guyana was moving smoothly, given that there was initial coordination and preparation between the Government of Guyana and the mission coordinators.
He noted that a team was sent in to Guyana two weeks prior to the ship’s arrival to lay the groundwork for the arrival of the vessel.
According to Ponds, Region One was chosen because of the relative inaccessibility, due to the terrain, but because of the large helicopters on board the Kearsarge, which were being utilised for the mission, it was possible to ferry in the medical supplies to the people to extend the services; and in cases of a serious nature, they could be take to the USS Kearsarge, where more complicated procedures could be carried out.
Ambassador Jones, during his welcome to the region, told that gathering that it was his first trip to the interior and it has made a life-long impression on him and his wife, who was travelling with him. He added that the interior was the face of Guyana.
As you see, the men and women wearing the uniforms are volunteers, and it was their pleasure to come to Guyana to help.
The ambassador pledged to the people of the region that the United States of America will continue in whatever way it can to assist the region, and he added that the programme of medical humanitarian missions will continue in future.
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