Health threats don’t stop after the waters recede

Reflecting on CDC’s 2017 Hurricane Response

Following the 2017 hurricanes, the CDC Foundation served as an integral partner to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) and USVI Department of Health (VIDOH) in implementing response and recovery activities aimed at shoring up and restarting critical public health infrastructure. Utilizing donor support, the CDC Foundation was able to work collaboratively with PRDH, VIDOH and a range of stakeholders in the region and beyond.

As part of the hurricane response and recovery effort, the CDC Foundation undertook activities, such as those highlighted below, to ensure vital public health work could continue in these territories:

  • Implemented a territory-wide vaccination campaign in Puerto Rico where more than 110,000 people received a vaccine to prevent diseases such as influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and hepatitis A and B; 
  • Restored partial lab capacity at PRDH by shipping over 3,200 lab specimens to CDC for confirmatory testing for Salmonella, Leptospirosis, tuberculosis (TB) and influenza and replacing critical lab equipment and supplies destroyed in the storm; 
  • Supported over 300 displaced individuals from USVI who sought medical treatment in the Southeastern United States by addressing requests for travel support, over the counter medicine and transportation to treatment;
  • Enhanced post-storm health risk communications in USVI with printed materials and radio PSAs to inform the public on potential health risks;
  • Enabled a short-term staffing solutions for health departments in both territories;
  • Provided donated insect repellent to help protect residents of these territories from potential mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya;
  • Funded construction of a mobile clinic to deliver much-needed vaccines, health screenings and clinical services to the residents of USVI, which will be delivered to the Morris F. de Castro Clinic this fall.

Health threats don’t stop when the winds stop and the waters recede. Even today, people are continuing to face difficulties in the aftermath of these unprecedented disasters.Together our impact is greater. 

 

The impact of these storms will live on for years. When a health threat strikes, speed saves lives.

Judy Monroe, MD, President and CEO, CDC Foundation.

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