Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, has urged the international community to meet the immense needs of Haiti in the aftermath of that country’s recent devastating earthquake, as she disclosed that health facilities after the disaster are overwhelmed.
Etienne called on the rest of the world to respond to Haiti’s need for medical personnel, supplies, equipment, and patient transportation.
“In total 24 health facilities suffered damage, mainly first level of care,” she said at her weekly media briefing.
“In Grand’ Anse, three health facilities were destroyed and two were damaged. In Nippes, we found that one health facility was destroyed and four damaged, and in Sud Department, 14 health facilities have been damaged.”
“Our staff is being deployed to the Grand’Anse and Nippes departments to support reestablishing health services at departmental levels,” she said, referring to areas near the epicenter of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.
In addition to supporting Haiti’s Ministry of Health and Population, PAHO has delivered essential medicines and other medical and surgical supplies for distribution to health institutions in need.
Dr. Etienne called on the global community to meet the “urgent health needs” identified by the health ministry.
“What we need is health personnel, supplies and equipment to treat patients with trauma, injuries, acute illnesses, chronic diseases and mental issues,” she said.
According to the PAHO Director, there’s an urgent need to restore health services mainly in the most affected areas and to ensure adequate water and sanitation to prevent increases of diarrheal, respiratory, and skin diseases.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and rest assured that we are doing everything possible to assist Haitians in these difficult and hard times. Our priority is to support the operation of health services and help save people’s lives,” Etienne stated.