Department of Health Leads Emergency Medical Response Teams for Fiona Refugees in Puerto Rico

The institution has provided support to communities affected by Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Santa Isabel, Ponce, Toa Baja and more.

Luis Ochoa

September 22, 2022 | | Reading time: 4 minutes

Dr. Carlos Melado, Minister of Health of Puerto Rico, in Health Brigade. Photo: Facebook.

The brigades of Health Department from Puerto Rico are mobilizing for various shelters allowing to provide medical access to the population, from various specialties such as gastroenterology, orthopedics, infectious diseases and primary medicine.

The communities they recently visited were in the municipalities of Salinas, Santa Isabel, Ponce, Toa Baja, as stated by the secretary of Hello from Puerto Rico, Dr. Carlos Melado.

Volunteer doctors assist the health brigades

The official indicated that they are providing patients with medication, wound healing and medical guidance for their condition to mitigate possible complications that may arise due to the hurricane emergency.

While touring the Toa Baja municipality, one of the most affected, Dr. Melado reported, “We are looking for patients who don’t have their medications because we know that because of the whole storm, there’s a high chance they won’t have their medications with them. We we write prescriptions, go to local community pharmacies and dispense the drugs to take some of the impact of patients having to find a hospital to get service.

“Haiti Stands Up” and volunteers support

In addition, he specified that together with the “Haiti Stands Up” Foundation and other volunteer organizations, health brigades are being held. “We’ve always done this before I became secretary, we had the Haiti Stand Up group and now they all belong to the work we do together with Health Department“.

In addition to this emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and therefore the risk of other contagious infections such as influenza may peak in the coming weeks, affecting the population of Puerto Rico.

To ensure a medical care integral, the secretary explained the purpose they have with the brigades and in turn admitted that access to the services of Hello in Puerto Rico is limited.

“We’re doing what we’ve always done, going into communities and looking for people in need medical care because we know that after the COVID and other series of situations that Puerto Rico had, access to Hello limited, so we want to reach every patient’s doorstep,” he said.

Current panorama after Fiona’s passing

To date, there are more than 2,300 on the Island refugees, according to Housing Secretary William Rodriguez, and more than 1 million people continue to be without power. Also, only a third of hospitals have electricity, the rest depend on alternative power plants.

In connection with the water supply, the secretary of Hello He pointed out that “we know the Superaqueduct is on and so it is always important that when the water arrives it is boiled or you buy bottled water. Likewise, you have to be very careful with food, have non-perishable food if you don’t have electricity.”

Training for health professionals

Hundreds of people have received medication for their chronic illnesses, wound care and guidance Hello. In this regard, the official emphasized that the professionals of Hello They are ready to handle these emergencies.

“We conducted two targeted impulses for professionals in Hello for this primary response and less than a month ago the second pulse was given for crisis treatment in the event of earthquakes and hurricanes,” he explained.

Finally, he explained that patients can get their prescription if they need medicine urgently without having to go exclusively to a primary care doctor and can access other specialized medical services.

“There is currently an ASES (Insurance Administration of Hello of Puerto Rico) that any doctor can issue a prescription without the need to see a primary care physician. On the other hand, what we are trying to do is not delay any planned operations because we need the system to move forward,” the official said.

See the full program here.