Saturday, January 16, 2010

First HHS Assets Hit Ground In Haiti

Medical personnel and medical supplies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hit have arrived in Haiti.

HHS is leading the U.S. medical and public health response. The department has activated the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which specializes in dealing with the medical impacts of major peacetime disasters. The State Department is notifying HHS of specific requests from Haiti for medical and public health support in the disaster zone.

“An International Medical Surgical Response Team will provide care for severely injured patients, and five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams will provide basic and acute medical care,’’ said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Additional teams may be called upon to provide emergency medical care, public health disaster assessments, environmental health evaluations and engineering assistance.”

The teams include doctors, nurses, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians from around the country, as well as health professionals who speak Haitian Creole. The teams have medicine, medical supplies and equipment. The first U.S. shipment of 22,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies was also delivered to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

HHS disaster mortuary personnel are also en route to Haiti. They will be working with Haitian officials to determine how Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Teams and a Deployable Portable Morgue Unit can help to identify victims and manage fatalities.

“The situation is changing rapidly,” Sebelius said. “All offers of assistance are greatly appreciated, but we hope everyone will keep in mind that deployments depend on current needs and logistics. Simply making resources available to the relief effort is a significant contribution.”



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