As Haiti marks one month since the earthquake with three days of mourning, International Medical Corps continues to expand its relief operations with mobile and fixed medical units treating more than 1,000 patients a day.
International Medical Corps was on the ground in Haiti within 22 hours after the 7.0 earthquake struck on January 12. With an immediate base of operations out of University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, International Medical Corps is the lead agency coordinating NGO and volunteer activity. Today, approximately 20 of its volunteer doctors and nurses provide day and night coverage in the ER, pediatrics, post-op and other units.
International Medical Corps also is operating 15 mobile and static medical units in 18 areas including Petionville, Carrefour, Gressier and Petit Goave, providing medical care to vulnerable populations that might otherwise have no health care. Activities include: primary health care and training of local health workers, nutrition, maternal/child health, mental health, water/sanitation/hygiene, and communicable disease surveillance.
“We are encouraged that critical, lifesaving relief is reaching many of those who need it most,” said Dina Prior, head of International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team in Haiti. “However, with the first heavy rains beginning since the earthquake occurred, we are extremely concerned about the hundreds of thousands living outside and in tent cities whose health will be severely compromised. Many still face little or no access to sanitation services and clean water.”
International Medical Corps will continue to deliver emergency assistance with an eye to long-term recovery. Integral to its activities is the capacity building that takes place simultaneously. International Medical Corps is working with local health care providers to train health professionals to fill gaps left from the death and displacement of health workers, as well as the damage of infrastructure. This kind of training helps bridge the gap and provides a level of sustainability.
“As we begin to transition to providing longer term assistance and training, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Haitian people to help them rebuild their health care system, recover and become self-reliant,” Prior said.