Former U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton visited SANOS Corp. to tour the 330 health center in Caguas and learn about the successful results of the naxolone program funded by Direct Relief and the Clinton Foundation, clinic officials confirmed.
The president and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton are in town this week for a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
“The collaboration with Direct Relief and the Clinton Foundation began with some efforts after Hurricane María hit,” said César Montijo, executive director of SANOS.
“Financial resources were received to tend to the labor force, they donated medicines, and a new mobile medical unit was requested for SANOS, which is will arrive soon and Direct Relief agreed to provide us with the Naloxone medicine, which reverses opioid overdoses. This has helped save lives in Caguas,” he said.
Clinton visited the clinic with a delegation from his foundation and Direct Relief executives and participated in a panel discussion with representatives from SANOS, Intercambios Puerto Rico and the Primary Medicine Association.
During the dialogue, Clinton reiterated his support for the rehabilitation of people who abuse opiates. Upon hearing that in Puerto Rico there is only the capacity to meet 8% of those with this condition, he asked what should be done to at least triple that number.
The panel participants concluded that a change in public policy and increased investments in treatment were the answer. Clinton vowed to consider that.
“At Direct Relief, we’re working hard to provide naloxone at no cost to health centers such as the SANOS Corp. in Caguas. With this, we help reverse overdoses in their community,” said Ivonne Rodríguez-Wiewall, Direct Relief’s executive advisor in Puerto Rico.
“In addition, we’re providing SANOS with a mobile unit, medications, backpacks with medical equipment and refrigeration equipment. We thank President Clinton for his support and interest in these Direct Relief initiatives that result in improving the health and quality of life in our island,” she said.
Luis Román, a SANOS psychologist, explained that since 2018 a model of intervention with patients has been improved to prevent overdose through the outreach team that goes to the communities in the mobile medical unit.