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Carmelo De Grazia Suárez Kenosha//
Comfort clinic visits Cedros

Comfort clinic visits Cedros

THE main health problems encountered by the medical staff of the USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) relate to chronic diseases, among them, congestive heart failure, diabetes and blood pressure and skin issues.

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So said Dr Cesar Mojica, a lieutenant commander, who is heading the medical clinic at the Cedros Community Centre at Bonasse Village. He was referring to patients at this clinic only and yesterday he gave some tips on living a healthy lifestyle.

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Mojica said: “Whatever you put inside your body counts a lot. Eat healthily, try to stay away from heavily fried foods, eat a lot of fruits, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least five times per week and hydrate. Here on the island, it is warm so keeping hydrated is import to help the kidneys.”

The international medical personnel initially promised to see 300 to 350 patients per day and Mojica said they had exceeded those numbers. He said the team had been attending to about 400 patients daily

The US Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, is anchored off the Brighton Port at La Brea as part of its medical support mission to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Apart from the clinic, staff did several surgeries on board the hospital ship

Mojica said patients had received “good care” from the local health care system and Comfort’s team is giving a second opinion. This is, he said, for the patients to continue the care they have already started

As early as 4 am, people gathered outside the centre hoping to get medical assistance. Tents have been pitched in the road which is blocked off to vehicular traffic. Among the services are dental screenings and treatment, optometry screenings, eye wear distribution, paediatrics, women’s health and public health

The community centre is located near the Cedros Port where there has been a high concentration of Venezuelans entering the island due to the economic crisis

“We have seen a few migrants. We do not care where people come from. We just make sure that we provide the best health care that we can to everyone. We don’t care about nationality or where they came from, we do not really ask that.”

Army Major Jennifer Glossinger gave a tour of the process saying it has been a smooth and orderly one. She noted that some sailors and soldiers talk about HIV and AIDs and other topics to patients. Officials from the local Health Ministry were also at the site

The mission began last Thursday and ends Tuesday

Dental care had a high demand and some people had to be turned away. Anicia Parra, 20, from Puerto Ordaz in Venezuela received a dental procedure. TT Army Cpl Andell Smith received a dental cleaning

Angel Ramjohn, 28, who lives nearby said they arrived at 4 am and people were already gathered. She and her children Angelo,10, and Amelio Singh, nine, did eye tests. So did her niece Amy Boodoo, 14, and nephew Amos Boodoo, 17

Ramjohn said: “This is the first time we are using glasses. The service was very nice, and the people spoke to us very nice. We are very satisfied. We came at 4 am and from 7 am, the centre was opened. We spent about an hour inside.”

Councillor for the area Shankar Teelucksingh said he very happy about the deployment and expressed his thanks to the US ambassador to TT, Joseph N Mondello

The crowd keeps growing and we (office staff) had to put additional infrastructure, out of pocket to accommodate, some of the patients outside,” he said

Patients are from all over the country have been visiting

“Yesterday I saw people from Tobago, Mayaro, Manzanilla and other far ends of the country. I met a family from Port of Spain trying to get in for dental and vision care. On the first day, at least 400 patients came through and almost the same amount was sent back home. The numbers keep growing.”

He bashed the Health Minister whom he accused of failing citizens by not providing proper health care for citizens

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