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PAHO/WHO Mobilizing to Meet Haiti's Health Needs after Earthquake
Date:1/14/2010

Health facilities are among the quake's casualties, complicating relief efforts

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is mobilizing health experts to assess the impact of yesterday's earthquake on the health situation in Haiti and working with other United Nations agencies, international partners, and local authorities to mobilize and coordinate relief and recovery efforts focused on the quake's survivors.

In addition to causing unknown deaths and injuries, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed or severely damaged at least eight health facilities, including at least four hospitals (see PAHO Situation Report). Compensating for the lost health services will be a key part of the relief response, noted Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO's Deputy Director, in a press briefing today.

Andrus noted that other immediate health priorities include:

  • Search and rescue of survivors trapped beneath rubble.
  • Treatment of people with major injuries.
  • Prevention of infection in wounds.
  • Provision of clean water and sanitation, and food for those in need.
  • Control of communicable diseases, such as diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections.

PAHO/WHO's Country Office in Port-au-Prince was partially damaged by the quake, forcing its staff to work out of temporary facilities. In addition to its in-country staff, the organization is mobilizing its Regional Disaster Response Team, which is expected to arrive in Haiti tomorrow.  

Andrus noted that Haiti, as the poorest country in the hemisphere and having s
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SOURCE Pan American Health Organization
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