Written by: Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen
Edited by: Lauran Timlin

Honduras is often thought of in terms of crime, drugs, homicides, and violence. Significant parts of the Western world fear the harshness and ignorance of this country. That, however, is far from the whole truth. For example, the country’s authorities try to help those who need it by bringing in free medical care, which is often the only opportunity for the locals. Welcome to The Medica Brigada on Roatan, Bay Islands!

2,500 received treatment during the Medical Brigade in Sandy Bay. (Photo: Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen)

The Honduran Armed Forces provide free medical care to the country’s poorest citizens to improve their health. The brigades were inaugurated in 2014 by the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Juan Orlando Hernández. 

“It is a very important civic engagement for the country because part of having a better life is to prevent disease, prevent violence, and what we want is to have a healthy life”
President Orlando Hernández during the inauguration in 2014

To arrange these Medical Brigades is therefore mandatory for all units of the Honduran Armed Forces.

One occurred on August 19, 2023, in the Centro Basico Modelo in Sandy Bay, Roatan, facilitated by soldiers from The Naval base on Guanaja and volunteering medical and non-medical personnel from several places and organizations.

The base on Guanaja has 235 soldiers, and it operates like a Coast Guard patrolling the inner coastal areas with speed boats. Lieutenant Commander Miguel Antonio Garcia Flores leads it. Thirty of them are assigned to The Medica Brigada. 

The brigades are performed twice a year. Abigail Rosales is Commander Garcia Flores’s wife, and her primary task is to manage donations and the practical parts of facilitating the personnel that participate in the brigade.  

The commander of the Naval Base in Guanaja, Miguel Antonio Garcia Flores is responsible for the Medical Brigade

 Several organizations supported this recent event, including the provisional Rotary Club of Roatan Utila and Guanaja. They helped with non-medical tasks, such as preparing the areas for treatment, childminding, including pináta and bouncy castles, providing pizza, and organizing the patients.

Two thousand five hundred persons from the five communities in Sandy Bay received treatment from the brigade this time. 

The president of the club, Angela Claire, was on site:

“To think that 50 pregnant women were able to have an ultrasound done, that they got to see their unborn child, something that would have been unthinkable for these women if it had not been for the free health care this Medical Brigade supplied.”

The president of the Provisional Rotary Club of Roatan Utila and Guanaja is overwhelmed by all the medical support given to the part of the people that cannot afford it (Photo: Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen)

Lieutenant Commander Garcia Flores says that his soldiers enjoy participating in the brigade:

“A lot of them are from poor communities and know exactly how much a lot of the people struggle.”

They usually plan the next brigade one year before the event. It is announced on TV and with flyers. 

The soldiers enjoy contributing to the brigade. A lot of them come from communities where people struggle and they are happy to help (Photo: Angela Claire Bjoroy-Karlsen)
Ange Szuch is making sure that the hungry ones get pizza. (Photo: Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen)


If you or anyone you know, medical or non-medical, wants to participate, do not hesitate to contact the Navy here: 

Abigail Rosales

Email: elsaderoatanrb@gmail.com

Phone: +504 3321-7298