Haiti and Chile Earthquakes

Save the Children Reports from Haiti: Mobile Health Teams and Multiple Clinics Set Up to Prevent Disease Outbreaks

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–(ENEWSPF)–Jan. 23, 2010.  Eleven days after the 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Save the Children reports that health needs have become urgent in the makeshift camps where families have gathered, especially for children.

Many of the injured have yet to receive care from the understaffed hospitals, and unsanitary conditions in the camps are likely to lead to a widespread outbreak of disease.

Save the Children has established two mobile clinics in Leogane – one of the hardest hit towns – where 90 percent of all buildings are damaged. The clinics are treating 100 people a day; the most common injuries are broken bones, cuts and lacerations.

“Even after eleven days people are still coming in for injuries from the earthquake. In the tropical heat there is growing concern about infections,”  said Annie Foster, Save the Children’s emergency response team leader in Haiti.

She added, “We have to treat the children and their families in the outlying areas that cannot get to hospitals. We need to do this urgently to prevent further suffering and illness.”

Save the Children is setting up an additional four mobile health teams in Jacmel, where the agency continues with their work to feed malnourished children. The agency has mobilized its networks of nutrition providers and vaccinators to reach out to communities, check on pregnant woman and new mothers, encourage breastfeeding and assist with childbirth.

“Outside Port-au-Prince, in Jacmel, Leogane and Petit Guave, needs are very acute. We are establishing bases there to be able to meet these needs. We will be setting up more mobile clinics, distributing supplies and establishing Child Friendly Spaces,” said Foster.

“We have to double our efforts now to ensure that there are not outbreaks of disease in the camps set up after the quake. We need to ensure clean water and sanitation to prevent this and access to medicine to treat this. The youngest children are the most vulnerable to diseases such as diarrhea,” Foster said.

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Source: savethechildren.org