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Southern Partnership Station 2016 Medical Engagement Team Completes Operation in Honduras

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160826-21
Release Date: 8/26/2016 1:40:00 PM

By U.S. Army Private First Class Liem Huynh, USSOUTHCOM Public Affairs

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (NNS) -- The Southern Partnership Station 2016 (SPS 16) Medical Engagement Team (MET), who partnered with Operation Blessing to conduct public health operations, completed their engagements in Honduras, Aug. 26.

SPS 16 is a U.S. Southern Command directed operation planned by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet and carried out by deployed Adaptive Force Packages (AFPs) deployed to Honduras, El Salvador and Colombia from August to October 2016.

This year, the MET AFPs deployed to Honduras conducted subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) with Honduran medical personnel, which centered on the Zika virus and preventative treatments to promote environmental health.

The MET, comprised of seven medical personnel from around the fleet, conducted SMEEs with more than 600 students, 70 health care providers and five different communities in the San Pedro Sula region as part of SPS 16.

"We are very grateful having the U.S. military personnel working together with Operation Blessing for the last two weeks," said Hilda Romero, Honduras' National Director of Operation Blessing.

Romero said that with the military's help and global positioning systems, Operation Blessing was able to locate and record households who received pest control treatment in efforts to combat the Zika virus. They were also able to implement a new tile-based insecticide to non-drinking water sources in Monte Verde, Choloma.

In an effort to promote a health education program, the MET included a U.S. Navy gynecologist and a clinical nurse specialist who gave training in CPR and basic life support techniques to the Honduran communities.

"The students were motivated, engaged and involved," said Lt. Cmdr. Ebony Ferguson, a clinical nurse specialist assigned to Fort Belvoir. "It was rewarding to see them teaching each other and correcting their own mistakes right after we taught the lessons."

The MET is scheduled to continue SPS 16 operations in El Salvador in the coming weeks.

"The work that our team has accomplished here will be the foundation for future teams," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick McKenna, MET Leader for SPS 16. "I hope that we can continue to do good work in the upcoming years with Operation Blessing and other organizations. We've already strengthened the trust and the relationship between the Navy and our NGO-partnership organizations."

SPS 16 is an annual series of U.S. Navy deployments focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces in Central and South America and the Caribbean. U.S. military teams work with partner nation forces during naval-focused training exercises, military-to-military engagements and community relations projects in an effort to enhance partnerships with regional maritime activities and improve the operational readiness of participants.

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