The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Manta, Ecuador for the first mission stop of the 2019 deployment, June 26.
While in Manta, U.S. service members and medical professionals will work alongside partner and host nation medical professionals to provide much-needed medical assistance in communities with urgent health care needs, including local populations and vulnerable Venezuelans who have fled to other countries in the region.
“We are absolutely thrilled and eager to begin our work here in the beautiful port of Manta,” said Capt. Brian J. Diebold, commander, Task Force 49. “Comfort’s team is ready to work side-by-side with doctors, nurses, and surgeons from throughout the region, exchanging expertise and providing assistance where we can to build a stronger neighborhood on a foundation of mutual respect and goodwill.”
Comfort’s team is made up of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru, creating a dynamic team capable of delivering a variety of services during this mission stop.
“USNS Comfort’s visit to Ecuador for the second time in less than nine months is an excellent example of our bilateral cooperation,” said Michael J. Fitzpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador. “It reflects our commitment to deepening our relationship with Ecuador and the region.”
This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care on board Comfort and at two land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in Venezuelan migrants.
This deployment is part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.