Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Relief

Outreaches Support Urban & Rural Communities: May 2018

September 15, 2018
Marisol Espinosa


Summary of Activities

Background

Supporting Local Facilities

After our initial needs assessment in October 2017, RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited Puerto Rico in early December 2017, strengthening ties with local authorities, medical professionals, and organizations. RMF then began working closely with Dr. Luis Gonzalez Bermudez, who oversees 5 medical facilities in the Vega Alta municipality.

Thanks to support from LDS Charities and individual donors, we began supporting the operations of these 5 health clinics and hospitals, and Dr. Martina Fuchs returned in February 2018 to guide our Puerto Rico team as per next steps of the program.

Through RMF, the clinics are also receiving essential medical supplies, dietary supplements, safety equipment, and personal hygiene products from Direct Relief International (DRI). These supplies are used to serve patients in the clinics, support community outreaches, and contribute to the safety of local maintenance and construction workers.

Community Health Outreaches

Health & Hygiene Supplies Distributed

RMF Puerto Rico has been continually providing health outreaches throughout rural and urban areas most impacted by Hurricane Maria, focusing our efforts on inland towns where health services and support are most needed.

During this month, RMF Puerto Rico held outreaches in the urban areas of Vega Alta, Dorado, and Manatí, as well as the rural area of Comerío and Naranjito. We visited communities, doctor’s offices, health clinics, one university, and one church. Thanks to the donations from Direct Relief International, we will be able to continue offering these essential health and hygiene supplies to the community.


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Results &

Accomplishments

  • RMF’s Dr. Emilio Rivera (right) with volunteers at the Korea Outreach

    May 2, 2018

    Korea Community

    On May 2, 2018, we held an outreach in the Korea Community of Dorado, which is located in northern Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to provide over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and hygiene products to 38 families in this community.

    Hormiga Community

    Also on May 2, RMF held an outreach at the Hormiga Community of Dorado, located in northern Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to provide 19 multivitamins, 60 hygiene products, and 27 OTC medicines to families in this community.


  • May 4, 2018

    Pasarell Community

    We held an outreach at the Pasarell Community of Comerío in central Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to provide over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and hygiene products to 141 families in this community.

    Achiote Community

    On May 4, 2018, we held an outreach at the Achiote Community of Naranjito, located in central Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to provide 48 over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and 48 hygiene products to families in this community.


  • May 6, 2018

    Doraville Community

    On May 6, 2018, we held an outreach at the New Testament Church Fair in the Doraville Community of Dorado, located in northern Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to provide 48 over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and 48 hygiene products to families in this community.

    May 11, 2018

    Vega Alta Health Clinic Fair

    On May 11, 2018, we held the Vega Alta Health Clinic Fair in Bajura, Vega Alta, located in northern Puerto Rico. We were able to provide over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and hygiene products to 155 families during this event, as well as providing 54 professional stethoscopes to paramedics, nurses, and doctors who are responding to the emergency caused by Hurricane Maria.

  • Dr. Salvador Ribot Ruiz’s Medical Office and Policlinic receiving supplies

    May 14, 2018

    Medical Office of Dr. Salvador Ribot Ruiz

    We provided OTC and prescription medications to Dr. Salvador Ribot Ruiz’s Medical Office and Policlinic located in the town of Carolina in northern Puerto Rico. Many patients are assisted here on a daily basis, and we were glad to boost the clinic’s services through this support. The support was made possible thanks to supplies received from Direct Relief International (DRI).

    May 21, 2018

    Dewey University

    We held an outreach at Dewey University in the town of Manatí, located in northern Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. We were able to administer 7 influenza vaccines and provide 42 hygiene products to community members.

  • Influenza vaccine outreach at the Vega Alta Health Clinic Dispensary

    May 1-29, 2018

    Vega Alta Health Clinic Dispensary

    During the month of May 2018, we held many outreaches at the Vega Alta Clinic in Bajura, Vega Alta, located in northern Puerto Rico. Residents live with few economic resources and still do not have electricity or drinking water eight months after Hurricane Maria. Throughout the month of May, we were able to provide 84 over-the-counter (OTC) medications, 128 hygiene products, and 373 multivitamins to families in this community.

    May 29, 2018

    Vega Alta Vaccination Outreach

    On May 29, 2018, we held an influenza vaccination outreach at the Vega Alta Health Clinic Dispensary in Vega Alta. During this outreach, we were able to provide vaccines to 30 patients.


  • May 1-29, 2018

    3 New Shipments Received

    During the month of May, RMF Puerto Rico continued to distribute supplies received in previous shipments from Direct Relief International (DRI), which included multivitamins, pediatric supplements, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, influenza vaccines, soap, body wash, shampoo, Vaseline, sunscreen, surgical medical supplies, stethoscopes, and safety materials such as safety helmets, safety glasses, bactericidal water tablets, and lamps.

    We also received the fifth DRI shipment on April 30, 2018 and the sixth and seventh shipments in May 2018 and began distributing these supplies. Together, the fifth, sixth, and seventh shipments from DRI were valued at $53,230.89 and contained medicines, medical supplies, surgical medical materials, and 5 emergency medical backpacks.

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Background

& Objectives

Background

On September 20, 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the US territory of Puerto Rico. The winds, 155 miles per hour at landfall, completely wiped out the island’s power grid and phone towers. A flash flood emergency was declared in central Puerto Rico, and the island experienced record flooding.

Prior to the hurricane, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was weak, and the storm left the small island crippled. Across the island, cities reported collapsed bridges and severe damage to roadways. On October 2, almost two weeks after the storm, 55% of people were still without access to drinking water, only 1 of 69 hospitals was fully operational, and 80% of the island’s crops had been destroyed. The full extent of the damage is still unclear, as most telephone and internet lines are still down. The damage has left many rural areas isolated, without access to communication or desperately needed supplies: food, water, shelter, and medical supplies.


Objectives
  • To provide primary health care and essential supplies to unreached, hurricane-affected communities
  • To form local partnerships and empower local health professionals, ensuring effective service provision to communities most in need
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More

Photos

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Numbers

Served

During the month of May 2018, RMF Puerto Rico provided:

  • 761 multivitamins
  • 384 hygiene products
  • 359 prescription medications
  • 341 OTC medicines
  • 37 influenza vaccines.

We also supported local medical professionals with 54 stethoscopes.

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General

Updates

RMF Participates at the VOCES Convention

Vaccine Education and Prevention

On May 4, 2018, Dr. Luis Gonzalez participated in the VOCES convention, where he represented RMF Puerto Rico and helped promote the coordination of vaccination campaigns. VOCES is a nonprofit organization, founded in February 2013 with the purpose of raising awareness and providing education on the importance of vaccination. There were over 400 attendees at the convention and Real Medicine Foundation Puerto Rico was proud to participate.

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