Thanks to the new open US policy toward Cuba, the work done aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort heals more than bodies.
On a sunny day in September, two medical teams—one American, one Cuban—came together to examine patients in a hospital in Haiti. In a historic moment, US and Cuban doctors worked side-by-side, providing free care to ease the suffering of Haiti’s poor. This remarkable event was made possible by the presence of the US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, anchored off the Haitian coast as part of the Continuing Promise 2015 mission, and by our new policy towards Cuba, which has created new opportunities for US engagement in the region.
Navy doctors found great value in working alongside Cuban doctors at La Renaissance hospital, a Cuban medical site, and through a joint visit to St. Luc’s, in Port-Au-Prince. These exchanges allowed for collaboration and the sharing of best practices, in areas of pediatrics, general medicine, optometry, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Participants found both Cuban and US medical professionals share mutual goals for medical treatment.
Several days earlier, Cuban diplomats and medical officials toured the Comfort’s medical facilities and met with their US counterparts. The entire experience was extremely positive for both sides, highlighting the strategic importance of US engagement and the role of the Comfort in bringing people together for the common good.