With the goal of ensuring that Puerto Rico’s community health centers have the medical resources needed to serve patients in times of disaster, the American Red Cross and DirectRelief have joined forces to distribute 96 pharmaceutical refrigerators islandwide.
This project is part of the American Red Cross’ long-term recovery program in Puerto Rico and for which it will invest of $608,000, the nonprofit announced.
After the passage of Hurricane María, Puerto Rico’s energy system faced a crisis that affected the storage capacity of temperature-sensitive medicines in 330 Centers, which are federally qualified health centers. This alliance strengthens the resilience of essential health services in any type of emergency, the organizations said.
A total of 37 health centers in more than 30 towns — including Loíza, Rincón, Lares, Santurce, Yauco, Humacao and Vieques — will benefit, said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross, Puerto Rico Chapter.
“We’re very happy about this collaboration, which in addition to providing the ability for them to maintain medications after any type of disaster, it will improve the capacity of Puerto Rican health clinics to provide care to patients seeking treatment for chronic conditions, in addition to vaccines and other needs,” she said.
Ivonne Rodríguez-Wiewall, executive advisor of Direct Relief for Puerto Rico said the distribution of the first 68 refrigerators and pharmaceutical freezers to local clinics is already underway.
“The collaboration of these two entities will increase the storage capacity of temperature-sensitive medicines by 6 million doses,” she said.