For distribution April 28, 2010 on the Occasion of “Hot Topic” Discussion Group, Weston, Florida Guest Speaker Colonel Joseph Napoli, United States Southern Command, Miami
HRDF AND U.S. SOUTHERN COMMMAND ARE “HOT TOPICS”
As Americans, we are glad to have the capability within our armed forces to respond promptly and peacefully when other countries experienced disasters. In the case of the January earthquake in Haiti, the large Haitian-American community particularly appreciated the arrival of the USNS Comfort and its stay until last month, and the services of the parts of the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) of the US Military Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
Probably, few Americans knew of the existence of SOUTCOM HAP until the Haitian earthquake. On the other hand, many Haitians, including physicians, nurses of Haitian hospital and clinics have benefited from SOUTHCOM HAP over the years. Their presence, however, has been episodic not continuous. Patients who may have been seen and treated by American medical personnel may never again see a doctor or a nurse. Clearly, public health practices require continuity and this something that HRDF believes SOUTHCOM HAP could or even should have a role in.