White Helmets volunteers are currently on board USNS Comfort, a US Navy hospital ship, that departed last June 14th from Naval Station Norfolk to initiate Operation Enduring Promise. The humanitarian mission will take the vessel and its crew to twelve countries in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, to provide free medical assistance to local communities. The purpose of the campaign is to alleviate the burden imposed upon the public health systems of host nations by Venezuelan refugees.
USNS Comfort, a Mercy-class hospital ship, has a complement of 258 naval support staff, over 950 naval hospital staff and 63 civilians, among which you may find White Helmets Volunteers fulfilling a variety of medical aid tasks. The vessel carries identical facilities to those found on a hospital ashore, including 12 operating rooms, 1000 beds for patients, ICU, two oxygen production plants, optometry/lens lab, dental services, CT scan and medical photography, a blood bank and a physical therapy area.
This year campaign will take the ship to ports in Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis. White Helmets Volunteers work hand in hand with the American crew and colleagues from friendly nations to provide free medical assistance to patients who approach the ship. Among this year specialists you may find dentists, surgeons, nurses, cardiologists, surgical technicians and pediatric anesthesiologists who will rotate in shifts to cover the vacancies.