LAMAT24: Second year U.S. partnership with St. Lucia

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As part of a Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) planned medical exercise to the Southern Command theater, the U.S. Air Force Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team deployed ready-medics, for the second year, to work alongside St. Lucia’s health teams to achieve mutual benefits and build trust in the region from Feb. 26 to March 10, 2024.

The team consists of 17 Active Duty and Reserve Airmen who are participating in this year’s LAMAT mission, assisting in health engagements, exchanging best practices and developing stronger relationships with host nation counterparts.

“We are excited to engage and learn from one another while building the relationships so crucial to the future of our partnership,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Devin Watson, troop commander. “We thank our counterparts here in St. Lucia for allowing us to work alongside them in their medical facilities and we look forward to building upon the relationships developed last year between our two medical communities.”

The LAMAT mission seeks to strengthen U.S. partnerships in Latin America and the Caribbean region by providing relief to overwhelmed medical facilities through collaboration with host nation medical practitioners and respective Ministry of Health officials.

“I want to take the opportunity to highlight that the United States medical mission not only provides timely medical and surgical support to our patients, but also builds capacity in our country as our clinical teams work alongside the U.S. Air Force to facilitate training and knowledge transfer,” said Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs chief medical officer.

On the heels of the most recent celebration of Saint Lucian Independence Day, the LAMAT team arrived on the island with surgeons, nurses, biomedical technicians, logistics personnel and surgical technicians. Patients were pre-selected in coordination with hospital medical directors and physicians under the direction of the host nation’s Ministry of Health.

“With us, we brought $75,000 worth of supplies and pharmaceuticals, weighing over 1,336 kilos, to support the mission and continue to provide ongoing mutual benefits to both the U.S. and St. Lucia beyond our time here,” said Watson.

This medical assistance training opportunity offers real-world benefits to the United States, the people of St. Lucia and their medical teams by relieving strained medical systems, training U.S. and local medical professionals, and promoting the health and well-being of the communities.

“As the 17-strong LAMAT team joins us…we can confidently say we have sealed a special partnership and friendship with the United States military based on knowledge exchange, skills development and shared objective to improve care for the clients we serve,” said Dr. Lisa Charles, Owen King European Union Hospital director of clinical services.

“I feel a profound sense of both gratitude and optimism for the future when I see what can be done when like minds, driven by a shared passion for improving the lives of people, takes root through cooperation, helping us achieve together what we could not do alone,” said Charles.

Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), the air and space component to USSOUTHCOM, plans and executes about 30 exercises in locations throughout the USSOUTHCOM AOR each year.