PARAMARIBO – Between the 1st and 15th of February, the United States’ Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team (LAMAT) will perform surgeries and exchange knowledge in Suriname as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s (USSOUTHCOM’s) Enduring Promise mission.
The LAMAT is a medical team composed of 29 U.S. joint force surgical and dental professionals and support personnel who will provide free general and dental surgery at the Academic Hospital and at Stichting Jeugdtandverzorging (JTV).
At the opening ceremony for the mission at Academic Hospital on January 31, Acting Minister of Health Steven McAndrew and U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Priyadarshi Sen gave remarks praising cooperation between the medical teams of both countries and thanking the surgeons for their hard work. The U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Embassy also donated five sets of general surgical instruments to Academic Hospital and another five to the Ministry of Health for distribution to other hospitals.
Deputy Chief of Mission Sen remarked: “This mission is representative of the U.S. commitment to our partners through assistance with no strings attached. LAMAT honors our promise to be a trusted partner in the Americas by increasing collaboration and building partner nation capacity so that we can quickly work together when support is needed.”
Patients were selected by the Ministry of Health in coordination with hospital medical directors, based upon the types of surgeries and procedures the U.S. Military surgeons are certified to perform; primarily Gastro-Intestinal surgery such as hernia and cyst excisions. The dental patients were identified by JTV, which provides dental care for underserved populations.
LAMAT’s operations have been coordinated with Suriname’s Ministry of Health and hospital medical directors to take advantage of additional operating room capacity without displacing Surinamese medical providers. U.S. medical professionals will work hand-in-hand with local doctors to ensure continuity of care following all surgical procedures. The team brings with it all medicines, supplies, and equipment necessary for the operations and will leave surplus supplies with the hospital.
The U.S. Southern Command is conducting a series of medical assistance operations in Guyana, Suriname and St. Lucia to build partnerships, provide relief to overwhelmed medical facilities, and improve the region’s collective ability to meet complex global challenges.