By Ensign Joe Keiley, HSV 2 Swift Public Affairs, DODLive Blog
From May to now inching into the first days of September, High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) has been carving a path along the coast of Africa and it has now almost made it exactly one and a half times around the continent.
An impressive feat, but as we’ve been talking about regularly in these posts, it wouldn’t be possible without all the different people who come on board the ship to share their knowledge, skills and expertise with the people in the places we visit.
One of the new additions to the Swift team, since it last departed Spain at the end of July, is a group of more than two-dozen Navy doctors, nurses, corpsman and civilian medical care providers who have brought a variety of care to the African people in the ports the ship has stopped in on this part of the West Coast transit of Africa Partnership Station.
The members of the team come from across the East Coast of the U.S. and the civilian volunteers are involved with Project Hope, a non-governmental organization that reaches out to provide medical care in disadvantaged areas.
The group has conducted both Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) outreach, holding health fairs that checked people’s eyes, prescribed medication, made referrals and saw more than 3000 people in the West African countries the ship has visited. Along with the health fairs, the group has been able to exchange information with the military medical professionals during each visit as well, building up a relationship and knowledge base for future interaction.
“This was very exciting, for me this is the second time being involved with APS, so it’s very good,” said Private First Class Henry Morss Jr., preventative health division, Armed Forces Liberia. “Here inLiberiawe lack books, so getting a chance to do research and talk with the doctors really helps.”
The officer-in-charge of the medical team on board says that the engagements so far have been beneficial to his team of corpsman and doctors.
“ We’ve been very excited to be on board with everyone, every body has a little part to play in partnering with the host nation, and we’re excited to be part of this mission,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rommel Flores, MEDCAP team officer-in-charge. “ We’ve built capacity, made friends, and we hope to continue those relationships as we have a lot to look forward to in terms of making it a positive experience here.”
It has been amazing to see the turnout at the events the medical team has been involved in each country and for as brief as they’ve been, they’ve made a huge impact in the lives of a lot of people.
It has been a pleasure to see the group working extremely hard to care for others and provide some level of medical service to as many people as they are physically able to see, and of the many events we’ve been involved in as part of APS, most likely an event that will stick in the memory of the African people who interacted with this group for a long time to come.