Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative, issuing body.
Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy, issuing body.
George Washington University, issuing body.
Milken Institute School of Public Health, issuing body.
[Washington, D.C.] : Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, November 2017
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, devastating a U.S. territory whose heavily impoverished population already was facing critical economic and health challenges. Community health centers play an especially important role in Puerto Rico's health care system; in 2016, twenty health centers operating in 86 mostly rural sites provided comprehensive primary health care to more than 352,000 children and adults--over 1 in 10 residents. One month after the hurricane, 89% of health center sites are open but are operating under challenging conditions. Only 13% of 70 assessed sites have had power restored as of mid-October. Many are able to provide only limited hours and services under post-storm conditions, and all health centers face an enormous need for drugs, vaccines, medical equipment, and other resources essential to proper functioning. Health centers report an urgent need for a wide range of vaccines and drugs, and report treating conditions identified with catastrophic public health events that elevate the risk for infectious disease: acute infections, conjunctivitis, scabies, leptospirosis, gastroenteritis, asthma, dermatitis, and viral infections (including influenza and suspected dengue and Zika). Over half of 70 assessed health centers report that their communities have only intermittent access to drinking water, and 70% report that their communities need food. All health centers report the need for vector control to prevent mosquito bites and other insect infestations. Restoring health centers' ability to serve their communities will depend on a major infusion of federal aid through both Medicaid and health center grant funding.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further use of the material is subject to CC BY license. (More information)