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FEMA approves $5.6M for Puerto Rico Health Department

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a $5.6 million injection of funds to the Puerto Rico Health Department to repair health facilities throughout the island.

The improvement plans range from diagnostic and treatment centers to laboratories and public health units in six municipalities.

This amount, approved this year, adds to the total of about $8 million that FEMA has awarded for the Health Department of so far for 14 permanent repair projects to strengthen the health sector.

“With these funding obligations we contribute to the rehabilitation of various facilities of Puerto Rico’s public health system around the island to facilitate the accessibility of these essential services to all citizens,” said the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, José Baquero-Tirado.

Among the recent obligations is a $1.2 million grant for the Mayagüez Pediatric Center, which has an epidemiology office. The facility also houses other offices that provide services to citizens such as the WIC Program, the Demographic Registry, the Biosecurity Office, and the Emergency Management Office, among others.

The improvements include mitigation measures to reinforce the windows, doors and roof of the building to prevent similar damage in future disasters.

“This federal assistance will give us the opportunity to improve the facilities of the Mayagüez Pediatric Center and keep the operations in optimal conditions to offer the quality of service that each patient deserves. The health of residents is our priority and a right that we have to respect,” said Health Secretary Lorenzo González-Feliciano.

Meanwhile, the Health Department’s hygiene laboratory in Arecibo, located in a historic building built in 1938, was awarded nearly $25,000. These funds are destined for repairs to its bacteriological and chemical labs, among other work.

Similarly, funds were obligated for other health institutions to repair their facilities and mitigate risks. Among these are Adjuntas’ Diagnostic and Treatment Center, with about $2.5 million, as well as the Transitional Service Centers in Cayey and Ponce, with about $800,000 and $67,000 respectively.

“Our public health facilities in various sectors will benefit greatly from this assignment, at a time when we are confirming the relevance of the services they offer,” said Ottmar Chávez, executive director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3).

“We thank the healthcare workers for their great support in these times and hope that this assignment fulfills the essential purpose of serving our citizens,” he added.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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