COOPERSTOWN- Nearly one year ago after Hurricane Maria swept through the Carribean island of Puerto Rico, public health condition are still poor and medical attention is highly needed.
On September 22nd, a team from Bassett Medical Center will depart for Vieques, Puerto Rico to still help those who are suffering still from Maria.
“Vieques is a small island off the mainland,” said Dr. Celeste Johns, of Bassett Healthcare. “It is only accessible by ferry and by a small plane if the airport is open."
Dr. Johns chief of Psychiatry at Bassett and her husband Dr. Chris Kjolhede will make the trip with 12 other healthcare providers. Kjolhede specializes in pediatric medicine and is determined to help the young population of Vieques get back on their feet.
"In one week we are hoping that we can get kids back on the normal trajectory,” said Dr. Kjolhede. “We also hope to inform their parents and the kids back in the right direction."
Vieques currently has a population of 9,500 civilians. Many civilians are without power, water, homes, and proper medical care. Bassett Medical Center has sent a shipment of medical supplies, including stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and glucose monitors, in support of the medical relief efforts.
"There were reports of anxiety and depression that were severe before Maria, and now they are worse,” said Dr. Johns. What I am planning to do is to listen and to see what the issues are, and find out what I can do to help.”