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Last week, we traveled to Vieques, Puerto Rico to help care for the population on the island that is still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. We partnered with other organizations on the ground as well as Jordan Aid International to care for over 200 people on the island of Vieques. Vieques was particularly hard hit by Maria and has had a long-standing history of health disparities for the last few decades. The need for medical care on Vieques was glaringly obvious. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and mental health issue such as depression and anxiety remain. 

 Puerto Rican physician Manuel Betancourt triages patients

Puerto Rican physician Manuel Betancourt triages patients

Since Maria, the public hospital had not opened to its full functioning capacity and currently there’s an urgent care center but all emergencies and obstetric care has to be obtained on the main island of Puerto Rico. This means that someone in need has to take a boat or plane to get to the main island for urgent medical care. IMR worked with a dedicated team of internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, gynecology, and many nurses and non-medical volunteers who made this three day clinic a tremendous success.

Thanks in part to the generosity of our donors we were able to provide medications, medical care, therapy, and disease management for the people of Vieques. We would like to especially thank MAP International for their medical supply donation. There’s a lot to learn about the history of Vieques, some of it can be found here.

 IMR volunteer, Angela Baumeister, RPAC, listens intently to her young patient

IMR volunteer, Angela Baumeister, RPAC, listens intently to her young patient

As the need continues, IMR will continue to return to the island work with our partners to provide the best medical care we can. It’s unclear when the current medical crisis will be over, however we are committed to being able to help as long as we can. Our supporters donations and support can help us have a long-term presence in Vieques and Puerto Rico for as long as needed. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation below to help us continue our work. We are grateful for your support.

Thank you,

Ambereen Sleemi, MD, MPH

 IMR team in Vieques

IMR team in Vieques

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