A team of Canadian and French Red Cross medical and emergency response specialists and 15 tonnes of supplies to operate mobile medical clinics have arrived in Port-au-Prince to support local Red Cross efforts to deliver urgent health services in isolated storm-hit communities.
“Health facilities in many southwestern villages have been damaged or destroyed and residents haven’t been able to get medical attention since the hurricane hit,” said Erwan Cheneval with the Canadian Red Cross, who is leading the mobile medical team. “Now that blocked and flooded roads are gradually clearing, we hope to steadily reach some of the most remote and devastated areas outside of the town of Jérémie that have yet to receive help.”
In coordination with Haiti’s Ministry of Health, the mobile medical team expects to treat infections and diarrhoeal illnesses, including cholera, wounds and trauma sustained during the storm, malaria and chronic diseases, as well as to provide prenatal care and immunizations for tetanus.
The emergency response team will also be working with staff and volunteers of the Haiti Red Cross Society to support hygiene promotion and other community-based clean water and sanitation activities to reduce cholera transmission.
The mobile medical clinic includes a medical supervisor, doctor, nurse, psychosocial support specialist, community health mobilizer and equipment technicians. It comes fully outfitted with the vehicles, equipment, supplies, tents, medicines and portable washing and sanitation facilities necessary to set up multiple and movable medical clinics.
The equipment will be trucked to the affected region this week, although poor road conditions and security continue to pose logistical challenges and threaten delays.
“Our priority is getting urgently needed relief supplies as well as medical care, food, clean water, sanitation and shelter support to women, children and men living in the worst-affected and hardest-to reach areas,” said Steve McAndrew, head of emergency operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “Red Cross teams on the ground are working around the clock to make that happen.”