The local government officials of San Clemente, Peru joined the U.S. Deputy Ambassador and Peruvian Minister of Health in welcoming the New Horizons medical team to the first clinic site of the mission. Local and national press were in attendance and U.S. Deputy Ambassador Michael J. Fitzpatrick and the Mayor of San Clemente, Carlos Palomino Sotelo, both spoke to the crowd.
Afterwards, the distinguished visitors toured the site, met with the local people waiting to be seen and the medical personnel including Project HOPE’s team.
Dr. Alan Jamison, a pediatrician from Morristown, Tennesse, and Project HOPE Medical Director for this mission, and Cynthia Hernandez, a Nurse Practitioner student from Miami, spoke at length with the deputy ambassador in front of the press.They explained HOPE’s role at the medical sites, and overall mission to work in partnership with the U.S. military and local officials on the ground.
Having local and national support, as well as support from the U.S. Embassy in Peru, is crucial to the success of the New Horizons’ mission.
Part of Project HOPE’s mission in the Pisco area of Peru is also disaster prevention and lasting sustainability, and this requires establishing firm and lasting relationships with the local governments and officials. I had the opportunity to travel around the region with USMC Major David Van Hoof and his team, who head up the Civic Affairs team for New Horizons.
Meeting with the local ministers and mayors allows us to not only begin to create lasting relationships with the local communities, but it allows us to hear first-hand what the real needs are in the community. For example, the mayor of San Clemente discussed the lack of services and care for the elderly community, and particularly the need for wheelchairs and walkers. By assessing the needs of the community, we can better serve them in the future.
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