PAHO director reports overwhelmed medical facilities in Haiti and calls for international support to meet “immense” needs – PAHO / WHO


The director also warned of a “mental health crisis” in the Americas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington, DC, August 18, 2021 (PAHO) – Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne reports that health facilities in three departments in Haiti after the earthquake are overwhelmed and called on the international community to come together. the country’s “immense” need for medical personnel, supplies, equipment and patient transport.

“In total, 24 health facilities suffered damage, mainly first level care,” she said during her weekly press briefing. “In Grand’Anse, three health establishments were destroyed and two were damaged. In Nippes, we found that one health facility was destroyed and four damaged, and in the South Department, 14 health facilities were damaged.

“Our staff are deployed in the departments of Grand’Anse and Nippes to support the restoration of health services at the departmental level,” she said, referring to areas near the epicenter of the magnitude 7 earthquake. , 2.

In addition to supporting the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population, PAHO has provided essential drugs and other medical and surgical supplies for distribution to health facilities in need.

Dr Etienne called on the global community to respond to the “urgent health needs” identified by the Ministry of Health. “What we need are health workers, supplies and equipment to treat patients with trauma, injuries, acute illnesses, chronic illnesses and mental health problems,” she said. declared. “There is an urgent need to restore health services, mainly in the most affected areas, and to ensure adequate water supply and sanitation to prevent the increase in diarrheal, respiratory and skin diseases.

“Our hearts are with the Haitian people and rest assured that we are doing everything possible to help Haitians in these difficult and difficult times,” she continued. “Our priority is to support the functioning of health services and help save lives.

Dr Etienne also sent his condolences to the family and loved ones of PAHO’s international consultant and public health emergency specialist, Dr Ousmane Touré, who has been supporting the organization’s COVID-19 response in Haiti since July.

“Dr. The loss of Touré is emblematic of the dangers facing health workers and the extraordinary sacrifices they have made during this pandemic,” she said.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Etienne pointed out that recently collected data reveals a “mental health crisis” in the Americas. More and more people are suffering from dramatically increased mental health problems at a time when services for them are also being disrupted due to the spread of the disease.

“Today we are facing a mental health crisis which, if not resolved, will have serious consequences,” she warned. “This will not only increase the mental health burden in our region, but also prolong the impact of the pandemic. “

She urged countries to increase their investments in mental health programs and drew attention to three countries – Chile, Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica – that are doing so successfully.

Addressing the pandemic’s toll in terms of disease and mortality, Dr Etienne reported 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 20,000 deaths in the Americas over the past week.

In South America, most countries are seeing a drop in cases, she said. In Brazil, hospital occupancy rates are below 80% in all states for the first time since November. But elsewhere, the cases are multiplying. Fueled by the Delta variant, COVID infections are on the rise in North America. “In Mexico, more than two-thirds of states have been rated as ‘high’ or ‘critical’ risk as hospitals fill up with COVID patients,” she said.

Cases and deaths are believed to be on the rise in Central America, particularly Costa Rica and Belize. Infections and deaths are increasing in the Caribbean, including Cuba. Dominica, Guadalupe, Jamaica, Martinique and Puerto Rico, where cases have increased 49% and deaths have increased 70%. In Trinidad and Tobago, weekly deaths continued to increase.

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