Puerto Rico Crisis: Direct Relief Commits Initial $300,000 Cash to Bolster Community Health Centers

Direct Relief today committed an initial $250,000 in cash for community health centers in Puerto Rico to aid recovery efforts in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. Direct Relief also committed $50,000 to support the work of La Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s primary care association, which represents the 20 member nonprofit corporations that operate 62 clinical sites in 53 municipalities and care for nearly 350,000 patients annually.

Doctors and nurses meet with Direct Relief staff Friday morning in San Juan, Puerto Rico to stock up on emergency supplies. Direct Relief provided staff with Emergency Health Kits, which contain basic medicines and first aid supplies, which equipped the healthcare providers as they traveled to 15 different towns across Puerto Rico to provide medical care. (Gordon Willcock/Direct Relief) (PRNewsfoto/Direct Relief)

“Direct Relief is deeply concerned for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and understands from experience how this massively disruptive situation puts many more people at risk,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “As always, the priority during the emergency is the safe evacuation and shelter of those in harm’s way, so we are mobilizing to avert the serious health complications that arise rapidly if not addressed.”

Today’s commitment of cash support follows the delivery of nearly $2 million in medical material aid this week to the Puerto Rico Department of Health. The shipments contained medicine to treat a range of chronic and acute health conditions. The organization also is providing emergency shipments of specialty drugs for less common conditions – a delivery of Bioverativ’s therapies for Hemophilia A and B, for instance, arrived this week at the University Pediatric Hospital in San Juan.

Direct Relief also has been coordinating with the National Association of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, as well as local public health officials.

Contributions to support emergency response efforts in Puerto Rico can be made by selecting “Puerto Rico” on Direct Relief’s donation page. All contributions designated for Puerto Rico will be used solely for relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.