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AbbVie’s $50 million donation to Direct Relief, has facilitated the implementation of over 400 projects aimed at strengthening Puerto Rico’s healthcare system through the Federally Qualified Health Centers’ network and many other local nonprofit organizations.
In addition to equipping health centers and clinics with requested medical supplies, Direct Relief has provided more than $30 million in cash grants aimed at bolstering Puerto Rico’s health sector in the following ways:
In addition to equipping health centers and clinics with requested medical supplies, Direct Relief has provided more than $26 million in cash grants aimed bolstering Puerto Rico’s health sector in the following ways:
Since 2018, 23 health facilities across the island have received pre-packaged modules of emergency medical supplies from Direct Relief in advance of hurricane season. Items include a wide range of medications and wound care supplies, 164 FDA-compliant pharmaceutical and laboratory refrigerators and freezers were installed, increasing cold chain capacity and storage to roughly 6 million vials of vaccines.
In support of front-line workers, over 900 Emergency Medical Backpacks for triage medical outreach activities during emergencies have been distributed to each member of Puerto Rico’s Medical Reserve Corps, all Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and volunteer EMT’s.
In addition, 41 automated external defibrillators were positioned in public sports facilities and first responder vehicles island wide. Direct Relief has also purchased and donated 69 long-range radios to health centers, ensuring their ability to communicate across local and island-wide channels during power outages and network breakdowns.
Structural and Medical Readiness
Direct Relief is supporting infrastructure projects in several health facilities to safeguard their endurance in the face of future emergencies. Construction of community health clinics in remote areas will increase access to healthcare for many. Funding also incorporates improvements in FQHCs and hospitals’ IT frameworks to update electronic health records and guarantee connectivity during power outages or communication disruptions.
In Mameyes, a remote community in the municipality of Utuado, expansion and repair of a free health clinic is underway. These improvements will amplify the scope of services and promote socio-economic growth by creating local employment opportunities. Services have also been expanded for Puerto Rico’s pediatric population with the new Interventional Radiology unit at the University Pediatric Hospital in Centro Médico, the only of its kind in PR and the Caribbean.
Direct Relief is equipping a host of medical facilities in Puerto Rico with more than 1 megawatt of solar production capacity and 1.7 megawatts of battery storage. Over $4M have been allocated to install renewable energy and battery storage systems in 15 FQHCs.
25 solar-powered water wells have been installed in non-PRASA communities (independent community water supply systems not served by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority). Compounded, these wells will provide access to clean drinking water to nearly 14,720 residents in remote areas. Fire and EMS stations are also being outfitted with solar energy systems, allowing first-line workers to provide essential services during emergencies and power breakdowns.
Improving access to healthcare
Direct Relief is addressing medical access gaps by establishing an island-wide telehealth network at health facilities in underserved areas. This network will effectively expand access to primary and specialty care, including psychiatric and mental health services. Since the start of the program, over 17,000 tele-visits have been performed by FHQC’s and partner organizations.
Telehealth has also been applied to tackle the present mental health crisis in the face of limited providers. To date, over 12,000 patients have received mental health services through our partnerships. 56 mobile units and off-road vehicles will further broaden the delivery of health services to remote communities throughout the island.
Medically Fragile Populations
Funding of 37 diverse, local non-profit organizations has enabled the expansion of services for vulnerable populations across the island. Maximizing health improvement through carefully leveraged resources has resulted in immediate respite for patients with chronic conditions such as end-stage renal disease, cancer, and diabetes. The Pediatric Renal Transplant program acquired a much-needed resource through the funding of a new position for a transplant coordinator. Since the program began, a total of nine children have received renal transplant and are free from weekly dialysis treatment.
Direct Relief is also prioritizing support for community-based organizations in expanding their opioid abuse program. Strategies are based on harm-reduction principles and include grief counseling, needle-exchange, mental health support, and MAT programs.