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Continuing Promise 2015 Begins in Panama

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150601-19
Release Date: 6/1/2015 11:56:00 AM

From Continuing Promise 2015 Public Affairs

COLON, Panama (NNS) -- The fifth of eleven mission stops in support of Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15) officially began in Colon, Panama, on May 30.

The CP-15 team embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) began medical, engineering and veterinary events, and expertise exchanges that will continue throughout the mission stop.

Medical sites were established and opened for patient care at Centro Educativo Porfirio Melendez and Centro Educativo Dr. Augusto Samuel Boyd. A third site at Instituto Benigno Jimenez Garay will open on June 3 when the site at Centro Educativo Dr. Augusto Samuel Boyd closes.

The CP-15 crew, non-governmental organization (NGO) medical volunteers, and Panamanian Ministry of Health volunteers, worked alongside one another, providing no-cost medical and dental services. On the first day, more than 1,200 patients received care from medical professionals at the established sites.

Capt. Anthony Delgado, the officer in charge at the Centro Educativo Porfirio Melendez medical site, attributed the day's success to the many host nation volunteers contributing to the mission. He explained that volunteers serving as translators allowed for better communication between the patients and the doctors, enabling better aid for more people.

'We had more medical volunteers here today than we've had in any country so far, and we have been able to coordinate with the Panamanian Ministry of Health to see 614 patients on the first day of patient care at this med site,' said Delgado. 'The collaboration was such a success because we were able to work alongside each other as a team, which I think speaks greatly to the relationship and strong partnership between our two countries.'

Although medical services play a prominent role, there are additional services, projects and coordination efforts scheduled to take place during the mission stop in Colon.

Construction and engineering projects have been coordinated by Seabees assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 (CBMU 202), from Little Creek, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida. The team has multiple projects currently in the works, including ceiling replacements, electrical repairs and air conditioner installations, at the Centro Medico Patricia Duncan and Centro Educativo Porfirio Melendez sites.

Veterinary Civil Affairs programs commenced in the cities of Colon and San Juan. The CP-15 veterinary team and local veterinarians joined efforts to provide care to the animals of local residents, utilizing a unique and flexible approach to veterinary care: a mobile clinic. The mobile clinic allowed the joint team to perform various procedures, sterilize equipment and work side by side to provide services such as vaccinations, vitamin treatments, and spaying and neutering.

Other mission areas of CP-15 include expertise exchanges and teaching seminars. Similar to previous mission stops, these events will cover a wide range of topics, to include a women's health seminar at a local church, basic life support classes and certifications, infectious disease seminars, as well as lectures and presentations on waste management, personal hygiene and disaster preparedness.

This stop marks the fourth time the Continuing Promise mission has visited Panama. Most recently, in October 2010, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) visited Chiriqu Grande, Panama for Continuing Promise 2010.

Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show the United States' continued support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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