PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – More than 3,000 Brazilian doctors, nurses and medical technicians have volunteered through the ministry of health to help earthquake victims in Haiti.
The deployment of the first group hinges on the ministry of defense’s approval. Brazilian defense officials claim that the infrastructure in Haiti still isn’t good enough to guarantee the volunteers’ success.
The ministry of health has set a main objective regarding Brazil’s current relief effort: improve the working conditions in Haiti so Brazil can send health care officials to provide much-needed medical treatment to earthquake victims.
“We must guarantee good structure and safety for the personnel, especially after another seism happened,” Clésio Mello de Castro, the general coordinator of the mobile service emergency (Samu), says.
Brazil has been sending essential medical equipment and medicine to the impoverished nation. The Oswaldo Cruz foundation (Fiocruz) has donated 40 tons of medicine, including treatment for oral rehydration, as well as anti-inflammatory pills, pain killers and antibiotics.
The first professionals who were selected during the screening process were those with experience in how to provide injections for anti-rabies, meningococcal vaccines, vaccines anti-yellow fever and typhoid, hepatitis B and C.
“We have been providing them with tents, water, canned and dehydrated food, as well as some basic items such as gloves and aprons,” Néio Lúcio Pereira, manager of the support unity of the hospital group Conceição, says.
Pereira, a physician at Conceição hospital, has volunteered to go to Haiti.
The 3,000 volunteers primarily are coming from the hospital group Conceição in Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, and from federal hospitals in Rio de Janeiro.
Surgeons - trauma, vascular and general – as well as anesthesiologists, family doctors and obstetricians are among the most sought-after in Haiti.
“It is going to require a lot of hard work to fight endemics and epidemics,” Pereira says.
The team is expected to provide care for as many as 700,000 pregnant women in Haiti.
The number of volunteers who have signed up is considerable, but the ministry of health will continue to recruit professionals to join medical team. More health care professionals may be needed once Brazil’s goal is to go beyond providing urgent relief.
“We are not only thinking about attending their emergency needs,” Castro says. “We are establishing a plan of action for the upcoming months, which may help establish health policies for the Haitian population.”
How to Help
Doctors, nurses and medical technicians
Sign up at the website of the ministry of health (http://formsus.datasus.gov.br/site/formulario.php?id_aplicacao=3646).
Medicine and medical equipment
The donation may be done via the Internet (http://formsus.datasus.gov.br/site/formulario.php?id_aplicacao=3647).
The priority is to receive donations of ready-for-consumption products. The list of the most needed articles may be found at the civil defense website (http://www.defesacivil.gov.br/haiti/index.asp), as well as an orientation on how to make donations.