The 18th year of military health services collaboration is here. Yesterday’s sunny day welcomed members of the District of Columbia Army National Guard who are here to collaborate with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in delivering dental and health services to Annotto Bay. The group will be split between the Annotto Bay Hospital and the health center located in the same city. The overseas team will be hosted where the accommodation is a perfect return from a hard days work. In charge of the operation on the ground is Colonel Pablo Raggio, the Senior Defense Official/Defense Attache’ at the U.S. Embassy. Good News Jamaica sat with Colonel Raggio and asked him to explain the relationship strengthening between the DC National Guard and Jamaica.
The Anticipated Health Mission
This 2-week mission is highly anticipated as one of the most popular collaborations between the two teams. Leading the JDF team is Major (Dr.) Gail Ranglin-Edwards, the Force Medical Officer. Major Ranglin-Edwards explains the collaboration like this:
As a matter of fact, the purpose of the mission is to strengthen the friendship between the United States and Jamaica while giving medical support to areas in the country without high-quality health services. As explained by Major Jason Hanslovan, Bilateral Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, “When we did this event last year, we got a lot of positive feedback in terms of providing these critical services to fairly remote parts of the island which [might not necessarily] have that option.” The is lead by Colonel Bolivia Davis, Commander of the medical detachment of the DC Army National Guard. Colonel Davis is also a doctor and is the chair of radiology at the University of Maryland. Although she has never been to Jamaica on her own, Colonel Davis has never missed this mission since 2009.
Welcome Home Major
There is usually a Jamaican in the mix in a large gathering. As we were learning more about the mission we were able to speak with a Jamaican born Major (Dr.) Marvalee Mattrasingh. Major Mattrasingh is a practicing dentist our of Hyattsville, Maryland. Take a listen to how she feels about being a part of such a meaningful mission.
Correspondingly, we welcome the DC National Guard teaming with our JDF in rural communities to deliver health services. As has been noted by Major Mattrasingh “They teach us and we teach them, so it’s an exchange [of] our information”. Well said, Major! Welcome home.