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We have just returned from a week in Puerto Rice working with the Department of Health and the Puerto Rican College of Physicians and Surgeons. Each day, the DOH identified municipalities in need. This was done in cooperation with local mayors and community workers. Liz Santaniello, a family nurse practitioner joined me for the week long trip.

Our first day was spent in Canovanas and Loiza, one of the hardest hit areas on the island and the one with hundreds of people in refugee centers. We set up a clinic in town and saw dozen’s of people who needed care. None had electricity or running potable water. Over the week, we traveled to the south to Lajas, the mountains of Morovis, refugee's shelters in Salinas, and the hardest hit areas of San Juan, including Hill Brothers. Home visits to the elderly and frail, as support and reassurance that they will not be forgotten, were much needed.

Everywhere, we saw old and young alike in need of medicines, water and electricity. And everywhere we saw Puerto Ricans from all walks of life rise to this need and do the work that needed to be done to care for people. We were able to deliver 8 large bags of medicines, syringes, pain relievers, water purification tablets, bug spray and more to 100’s of people. 

Working with the local doctors and authorities ensured our efforts were directed to the most needy areas of the island.  IMR has committed to return to work with local Puerto Rican doctors to provide care, supply medical goods as well as technical support as long as the need exists.

- Ambereen Sleemi, MD, MPH

Surgical Director