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New Horizons medical operations kick off in Peru

  • Published
  • By Capt. Candace N. Park
  • New Horizons Public Affairs
Senior government officials from the Peruvian Ministries of Defense and Health as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy Lima officially inaugurated New Horizons 2012 medical activities in Peru June 19 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the medical training exercise and community health clinic being held here at a local school.

The U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise offers U.S. and Peruvian military medical personnel to train and work together while providing free medical services to about 30,000 Peruvians over the coming two months.

"This exercise is without a doubt a clear example of the level that relations between Peru and the United States have reached, " said Ambassador Mario Lopez, the Peruvian Ministry of Defense representative at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "It is a tight relationship, marked by cooperation and the strategic link that unites us for the benefit of the population of Peruvian and the US."

In addition to providing medical readiness training exercises as part of New Horizons, two critical infrastructure projects are also underway.

Engineers from the 820th Red Horse Squadron and West Virginia National Guard are working alongside Peruvian military engineers to construct a new town community center in Tambo de Mora, a town greatly impacted by an earthquake in 2007. The town was liquefied be the resulting tsunami and thousands of people were displaced, said Jose Pepe Girao of the Chincha municipal government.

"This project is what people here have been praying for," Girao said. "It will improve the lives of many who have been suffering and it will bring them together."

The multi-use town center will include a library, clinic, auditorium, playground and a central park area.

The other New Horizons construction project under way is an addition of an emergency room facility to the clinic in Independencia.

"Man will pass, but his works will remain," said Alonso Navarro Cabanillas, the Ica regional president. "These great works will improve the daily lives of many for years to come."

Later this month, Air Force medics will begin arriving in Peru to set up a mobile field hospital in the remote area of Huancavelica, Peru, where they will work with local health authorities and Peruvian military doctors to treat 10,000 patients. The medics will have an opportunity to practice setting up and taking down the mobile unit, which the Air Force employs in response to natural disasters worldwide.