Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with catastrophic force. Thousands are in need of emergency medical care, access to clean water and proper sanitation, and lack resources like fuel, power and medications.
We in New Orleans know what it means to have our city destroyed by a flood. We know what it means to lose everything in a day. The realities of having to re-build our homes and our livelihoods are all too familiar. Access to medicine and quality healthcare is still a vital need. Let’s come together and help our brothers and sisters, our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico as they begin the long process of recovery.
International Medical Corps is on the ground in Puerto Rico, where we are partnering with the La Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR), a network of nearly 70 health clinics focused on providing care to low-income families across the island. Power outages continue to make it difficult to operate health facilities, with many clinics resorting to limiting the hours they are open or providing care in smaller spaces that can be powered by a generator. Maintaining a cold chain for many urgently needed medications, especially those for chronic care, has been a challenge.
International Medical Corps is providing logistical support to help urban and rural clinics across the island get back to caring for patients. This includes providing seven generators to clinics and San Juan-area hospitals that would otherwise have severely limited or no operating capacity. In addition, we have provided water bladders with a 500-gallon storage capacity to health facilities help increase access to potable water at hard-hit facilities. We are also working with a partner organization to restore internet and communications capabilities for ASPPR and distributing solar lights to clinics. Our team is also looking at how we can support the supply of medications across the island, especially those that require cold storage and transport.
As immediate relief efforts begin to shift into recovery, International Medical Corps will support the longer-term needs of health facilities with infrastructure repairs and other assistance. We will be working with an anticipated 20 clinics to rebuild and rehabilitate facility infrastructure, and provide urgently needed grants and resources, helping clinics address their most urgent and pertinent needs. This includes supporting staff, who are overworked and facing the same challenges as the general population – lack of access to electricity and potable water. In addition, we are distributing hygiene kits, wound care kits, solar lights and other supplies that can help families stay healthy in the aftermath of crises.