Business View Caribbean | September 2019

9 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN SEPTEMBER 2019 OPENING L INES PAHOWORKINGWITH BAHAMIAN HEALTH OFFICIALS TO RESPOND TO MEDICAL NEEDS POST-DORIAN A Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) team is working closely with health authorities in the Bahamas to support their response to Hurricane Dorian, which has damaged health facilities and flooded hospitals on Abaco and Grand Bahama. Prior to the hurricane, the PAHO country office contributed to the Ministry of Health’s preparedness and response planning. PAHO also pre-positioned experts from its sub-regional office in Barbados to assist the country in on-site assessments of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and health infrastructure and facilities’ needs. Additional support on logistics, civil and military coordination, information management, surveillance, and coordination arrived to work with counterparts in the country. A Rapid Assessment is crucial to assist the Health Ministry in the implementation of urgent life- saving interventions, said Dr Ciro Ugarte, director of PAHO’s Health Emergencies Department. Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco islands most severely, and significant damage to health infrastructure is likely. Some 400 persons sought shelter at the clinic in Marsh Harbour on Abaco, and seven people have been confirmed dead and several residents sustained serious injuries. In Grand Bahama, Dorian stalled over the island with intense rainfall, 165 mile-per-hour winds and 15 to 20 feet of storm surges. PAHO said health personnel from New Providence and other unaffected Family Islands are on stand- by to be deployed to Abaco and Grand Bahamas to replace exhausted health care professionals. The MoH is determining what additional medical teams need to be deployed to the affected islands and will decide on deployments according to the needs on the affected islands.