To help meet crucial needs gaps in health care access and mental health services in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, AmeriCares is investing more than $700,000 in new programs for survivors in hard-hit areas.
"The struggle to recover from the disaster is a daily reality for tens of thousands of survivors," explained Garrett Ingoglia, Vice President of Emergency Response at AmeriCares. "Access to health care and mental health services remain significant challenges. We're supporting projects that will help fill these gaps by repairing 28 damaged health facilities and providing mental health and psychosocial support."
On Panay Island, we're working with long-time partner International Organization for Migration (IOM) to restore and expand primary health care services in Pilar and Pontevedra, Capiz province. The $200,000 project will provide comprehensive health services in an area with an increased need for patient services due to disaster-related injuries and ailments, and reduced capacity due to damage and destruction of facilities, equipment, medicines and supplies. Project goals include:providing primary care to 15,000 people in need facilitating health referrals with assisted transportation services for up to 200 people, repairing and re-equipping six damaged health stations, training 150 community leaders to provide counseling support services to the community.
In Leyte, we are partnering with EngenderHealth to support the rehabilitation of typhoon-damaged health facilities in Region 8. In December, 2013, we teamed with the organization for a joint assessment of the health care infrastructure in the hard-hit region, in coordination with the Philippines Department of Health. We identified six rural health units and one Tacloban hospital operating at reduced capacity as a result of storm damage.
In northern Cebu, AmeriCares and EngenderHealth are teaming to rehabilitate 15 barangay health stations. The damaged health facilities were identified during a joint assessment in coordination with the Region 7 Department of Health. These health stations provide crucial health services to populations in remote barangays in Northern Cebu. Together, the projects will result in more than $300,000 worth of repairs to 22 health facilities in the Visayas, facilities that serve more than 80,000 people.
In addition to physical health, our relief work focuses on helping survivors cope with increased stress, trauma and loss resulting from a disaster. "Mental health services are often one of the most significant unmet needs after a disaster of this magnitude," said Ingoglia.
AmeriCares is providing over $98,000 to the International Medical Corps for mental health and psychosocial support to disaster survivors in Leyte, the province that was hit hardest by the disaster. The funding will support a training module that integrates mental health into primary care services for doctors and nurses from rural health units in hard-hit Tanauan and Tacloban. In addition to training, a community outreach component will help raise public awareness of the services available. The project will also seek to establish a referral network to help health professionals identify and refer individuals requiring more specialized care. The first training session occurred on January 14, 2014, with additional sessions scheduled in February and March.