The US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) will offer free medical services in Trinidad and Tobago September 5-10, the US Embassy reiterated in a media statement on Wednesday.
The ship will dock at the La Brea port and conduct 100 onboard surgeries, provide basic medical services at two medical walk-in sites at the Cedros Community Centre and the South West Regional Sports Arena, Point Fortin, as well as host health fairs/community outreach and town halls to address various public health topics.
Surgery candidates will be selected by the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health.
Onboard surgeries will fall under the categories of Opthalmology, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Wound Care and Urology.
The Ministry of Health will select surgery candidates and conduct pre-screening before making recommendations to the Comfort medical team for surgeries.
Surgery candidates will be drawn primarily from existing waiting lists within the public health system.
Candidates with the optimal clinical background and those who have been on the waiting list for the longest timeframe will be prioritised.
The categories of services offered at the medical walk-in sites are Adult Medical Services, Pediatric Medical Services, Dental, Optometry, Physical Therapy and Dermatology (only the Point Fortin site).
The walk-in sites in Cedros and Point Fortin will operate from 8 am to 5 pm each day on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In order to see as many patients as possible, each person will be seen by only one provider, unless that provider deems additional services are needed for the identified condition and are available at the site.
Members of the public should not send medical records to the US Embassy.
The embassy says that the visit of the USNS Comfort is part of the ship’s five-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean on a medical assistance mission.
"The USNS Comfort operation is part of the deepening of US engagement in the region under the health pillar of the U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Strategy," the statement adds.
This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007 and the second to Trinidad and Tobago.
USNS Comfort medical teams will also provide care in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis during this deployment.