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Airmen, Soldiers to provide medical care to thousands of Belizeans during New Horizons '14

U.S. Air Force medical personnel, Project HOPE volunteers, and Belizean doctors, nurses and midwives practice how to respond to different obstetric emergencies May 22, 2013, in Dangriga, Belize. Obstetrics is a medical specialty concerning the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the period following delivery. These health care professionals partnered together to establish a two-day Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics exchange as part of an exercise called New Horizons. New Horizons is a U.S. Southern Command exercise that gives U.S., Canadian and Belizean personnel an opportunity to train jointly in an exercise setting in order to be prepared to meet future challenges. Personnel are providing medical and dental care, as well as constructing educational buildings throughout Belize as part of the training.

U.S. Air Force medical personnel and Belizean doctors, nurses and midwives practice how to respond to different obstetric emergencies during New Horizons Belize '13. A group of highly-skilled professional medical personnel from the U.S., Belize and Canada will soon come together once again to provide routine and essential medical treatment to more than 15,000 Belizeans during New Horizons Belize '14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Law/Released)

U.S. Army Capt. Blong Ly, general dentist assigned to the 352nd Combat Support Hospital, gives a young Belizean girl anesthetic at San Felipe School, Belize, April 24, 2013. Medical professionals from the U.S. and Canada provided free medical treatment during medical readiness training exercises throughout Belize as part of an on-going exercise known as New Horizons. The MEDRETES were designed to provide humanitarian assistance and medical care to people in several communities, while helping improve the skills of U.S. military medical forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Law/Released)

Medical professionals from the U.S. and Canada provided free medical treatment during medical readiness training exercises throughout Belize during New Horizons '13. A group of highly-skilled professional medical personnel from the U.S., Belize and Canada will soon come together once again to provide routine and essential medical treatment to more than 15,000 Belizeans during New Horizons Belize '14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Law/Released)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Airmen and Soldiers from Air Forces Southern, the 355th Medical Group and the 349th Combat Support Hospital are readying medical personnel, packing supplies and shipping medical equipment that will be used in treating thousands of patients in support of their upcoming deployment to Belize for New Horizons '14.

"We are so incredibly grateful to the Belizean government for all of the exceptional support they provided in the planning of this exercise and we look forward to once again joining forces on the ground in a few short weeks," said Lt. Col. James Smith, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Deputy Command Surgeon.

During last year's exercise in Belize, Air Force and Army medical teams worked side-by-side with Canadian doctors, the Ministry of Health in Belize, as well as Belizean doctors and medical personnel to provide care for more than 14, 828 Belizeans during the medical readiness training exercises (MEDRETES). 

A  group of highly-skilled professional medical personnel will soon come together once again to provide routine and essential medical treatment to more than 15,000 Belizeans.

"The U.S., Canada and Belize have pulled some of the best-of-the-best together to form this year's joint and multi-national medical team," said Col. Bruce Edwards, New Horizons Belize Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron commander. "Our team is looking forward to growing partnerships, sharing information, and training with our Canadian and Belizean medical colleagues."

Medical services provided during this year's exercise will include General Health, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Dental and Dermatology.

The MEDRETES will take place in Belize City and Corozal. Medical personnel will also be setting up in remote locations throughout the jungle and in local villages to provide indispensable care to Belize's indigenous population.

"This training will improve our skills to provide essential and emergency care during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts throughout the globe," said Edwards. "Medical practitioners will receive training that helps them prepare for overseas deployments by providing care to people in rural areas that may not have had easy access to healthcare in the past."

New Horizons, an annual U.S. Southern Command sponsored exercise, began in the mid-1980s. The exercise objective is to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. Since its inception, Airmen and members of other services working under USSOUTHCOM have built schools, community centers, provided medical care and much more to form partnerships between the United States and Central American, South American and Caribbean nations.

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