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Health Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM


PAHO/WHO assists The Bahamas to cope with health impact of Hurricane Joaquin
By PAHO/WHO
Oct 9, 2015 - 12:31:43 PM

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Community health clinic in Clarence Town, Long Island severely damaged during Hurricane Joaquin `

The Pan American Health Organization deploys team of experts in disaster response, water, sanitation, health and infrastructure assessment to mobilize resources in the Central and Southern Bahamas

Nassau, October 7th, 2015 – The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) responded with health and government officials in The Bahamas to assess the impact of Hurricane Joaquin and strengthen the country’s relief efforts.

Hurricane Joaquin caused widespread damage, significantly impacting electricity supply, communication infrastructure, health facilities, roadways, airports, harbours/ports and potable water for over 14,000 residents on Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, Mayaguana, Ragged Island, Cat Island, Exuma and Inagua.

PAHO/WHO immediately made available emergency funding and experts to assist the Ministry of Health in their emergency relief response. The PAHO/WHO Regional Response Team deployed five experts in disaster management including the PAHO Regional Advisor for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief (PED), a sanitary engineer, a structural engineer, a biomedical engineer, and a disaster risk reduction specialist to support in country disaster relief and coordination efforts.

The engineering team assessed Clarence Town, Long Island on Sunday October 4th and Landrail Point, Crooked Island on Monday October 5th. The team returned to New Providence, the evening of October 5th, providing significant updates on damage and recommendations for interventions and mobilization of resources to support these communities.

On Tuesday October 6th, one PAHO team member was deployed to an interagency mission with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Rapid Needs Assessment Team and has travelled to Acklins to provide further support to these communities.

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PAHO/WHO Bahamas Representation and Regional Response Team members coordinating mobilization of resources

Dr. Gerry Eijkemans, PAHO/WHO Representative for The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands and the PED Regional Response Team continues to support the Ministry of Health in relief efforts, in coordination with the Department of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services, to address public health and environmental health concerns. To address immediate needs, PAHO has supported the procurement of:

•       Generators and held fuel pumps for the Department of Public Health - to support emergency restoration of health care facilities

•       Refrigerators (cooling systems) to support storage of vaccines and pharmaceuticals (essential medicines) in the clinics

•       Iridium satellite phones for the affected Family Island Clinics to improve health sector communication

•       Handheld and truck mounted foggers for the Department of Environmental Health Services – to support vector control

•       Chlorine tablets (disinfectants) to improve water quality and sanitation management


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PAHO Disaster Response Team Members prepare for deployment in The Central and Southern Bahamas

The PAHO/WHO Bahamas Representation will continue to work collaboratively with the government of The Bahamas to address immediate-to-long term support for those residents of the Central and Southern Bahamas who were severely impacted by Hurricane Joaquin.

About PAHO/WHO

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with more than 100 years of experience in working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.

About PAHO/WHO in The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands
The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) was first established in The Bahamas in 1978 as a sub-regional office of the Jamaica Office. By 1982, it was upgraded to a full Country Office Status.

Since then, an important and healthy relationship has evolved, and although the priorities have shifted, PAHO/WHO has enjoyed a long history of engaging and supporting the Bahamas and Turks Caicos to ensure better health and quality of life of the general population.

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