Final Statement Re: The Medical Mission To The Federation Re: United States Naval Ship “Comfort” (T-AH 20)

A total of 3,677 citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis were seen, assessed and received treatment by the medical staff of the US Naval Ship Comfort, during its recent visit to the Federation. The staff of the floating medical treatment facility/floating hospital concluded its mission to the Federation on Thursday, October 10, 2019 after conducting six days of medical consultations at two land-based sites in St. Kitts, namely Antioch Baptist Church at Lime Kiln, Basseterre, and the community centre in St. Paul’s.

Some 25 surgical procedures would have also been conducted aboard the floating hospital for various ailments and conditions
including, but not limited to cleft palate repair, and cataract, hydrocele and orthopedic surgery.

The Federal Ministry of Health has re-confirmed that the USNS Comfort was deployed by the Government of the United States of America to offer medical care to the people of our Federation. By the end of its mission the navy hospital ship would have made similar stops in ten (10) other Latin American and Caribbean territories including St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

An official from the Federal Ministry of Health has extended sincere appreciation to the Government of the United States of America and, more specifically, to the captain and crew of the USNS Comfort, for including St. Kitts and Nevis in its itinerary of medical stops. The Ministry views the medical mission as a demonstration of the strong bilateral relations existing between the USA and St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Ministry official also expressed gratitude for the large number of persons who availed themselves of the free medical services from the staff of the floating hospital, in spite of the unfounded medical propaganda that surrounded the vessel’s Caribbean and Latin American mission even prior to the ship’s arrival in our Country.

The public’s confidence in accessing medical care was evidenced by the long lines and numerous citizens and residents who availed themselves of the dental, optometry and general medical services provided at the two land-based sites in St. Kitts. Now that the medical mission of the USNS Comfort has ended, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to remind citizens and residents who would have accessed medical services to actively police their health, to follow the advice given during their medical consultations, and to do the necessary follow-up with their primary care physician or District Medical Officer (DMO) in order to safeguard and improve their health and wellness.

On this score, it was noted by the Ministry that a significant number of medical referrals have already been made to the Nation’s hospitals and health centres, with a high percentage of those being related to the management and treatment of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), our Nation’s leading cause of death and disability. As can be expected, a considerable amount of these referrals are linked to obesity and being overweight, which are major risk factors for NCDs.

The Federal Ministry of Health wishes to advise the public that the captain and crew of the USNS Comfort made a significant medical donation to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis prior to the ship’s departure. A total of 22 pallets of medical supplies, including pharmaceuticals, were donated to the Ministry on Friday, October 11, 2019.

These medical goods are currently being audited and will be shared equitably among the institution and community-based health facilities on St. Kitts and Nevis. The Ministry is most appreciative of this generous donation.

The Federal Ministry of Health wishes to use this medium to document its sincere gratitude to our local medical and nursing teams, and to our security forces who rendered invaluable support to the recently concluded medical mission to St. Kitts and Nevis at the two land-based medical sites, and aboard the USNS Comfort.

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