Food For The Poor Partnership Provides Technology for Treating COVID-19 Patients in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (July 1, 2020) Hospitals in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are using monitoring technologies to help care for critically ill patients affected by COVID-19, thanks to a partnership between Food For The Poor, longtime partner MAP International, and Edwards Lifesciences.
Forty-nine monitors were delivered this month to seven hospitals, six in the D.R. and one in Puerto Rico.
Each monitor is equipped with 65 sensors. Edwards Lifesciences donated the equipment to MAP International. Subsequently, MAP International arranged to ship them to Food For The Poor's partners.
The Order of Malta in the D.R., and Iglesia Episcopal, in Puerto Rico, are overseeing the distribution. The hospitals in the D.R. are Rodolfo de la Cruz, José María Cabrál y Báez, Ricardo Limardo, Ramón de Lara, General Marcelino Veléz Santana, and Robert Reid Cabral. San Lucas Episcopal, in Puerto Rico, also received monitors and sensors.
Cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, are still on the rise in many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In the D.R., cases have more than quintupled since April, rising to 31,373 on June 29, according to worldometers.info, a website that tracks coronavirus around the world. In Puerto Rico, cases jumped by more than 2,000 since early June to 7,250 on June 29.
The surge in cases prompted the director of the Pan American Health Organization to warn that the unfolding crisis had pushed the Caribbean and Latin America to the limit, according to news reports.
For millions of families living in extreme poverty in both regions who cannot afford even basic medicine,or transportation costs to reach the nearest hospital, illnesses such as COVID-19 quickly can become life-threatening.
Dr. Ramon H. Artiles Santamaria, Director of the Military Teaching Hospital, Ramón de Lara, in the D.R., said the monitors not only will help patients with COVID-19 but assist in other hospital care such as operating rooms, emergency rooms and ICUs.
"We express our great appreciation for the donation which will help strengthen the timely management and care of our patients during this pandemic," he said.
Elyonel Pontón Cruz, Executive Director of the San Lucas Episcopal Medical Center, in Puerto Rico, expressed his gratitude for the donation.
"With this new equipment, we will have a unit at the forefront of advances in technology in medicine," Cruz said.
San Lucas is the only hospital in Puerto Rico to have these critical care monitors, according to Iglesia Episcopal.
While Food For The Poor's mission primarily is to serve internationally, the charity has responded to catastrophic disasters in the United States and to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Food For The Poor sent more than 100 tractor-trailer loads of aid to Puerto Rico. The charity also responded with critical relief items after a series of earthquakes at the beginning of 2020.
"The Episcopal Church Diocese of Puerto Rico reaffirms its commitment to the health and well-being of those most in need," Bishop Rafael Morales Maldonado said. "We recognize the commitment of Food For The Poor, which has collaborated with our diocese since Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and again for the benefit of our people in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic."
In addition to the monitors, each hospital also received 100 personal care packages including toothpaste, soap, tissues, toys and other hygiene items and basic necessities.
"MAP International is honored to be in partnership with Food For The Poor and Edwards Lifesciences to get critical care monitors, sensors and patient care packages to hospitals in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico," MAP International President/CEO Steve Stirling said. "Through our combined effort, I am hopeful we will help combat COVID-19 in vulnerable areas of need and impact the lives of people."
Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said medical care and treatment is often minimal or difficult to get in the countries served by the charity.
"COVID-19 is making an already fragile situation for the destitute poor even worse," Raine said. "The gift of these machines and basic everyday supplies will make a world of a difference. With the help of our donors and partners like MAP International and Edwards Lifesciences, we will continue to protect the most vulnerable we serve."
MAP International, a Georgia-based global health organization rated as one of the top charities in America by Forbes magazine, distributed the equivalent of 44 million medical treatments to 13.3 million people in 98 countries in 2019 alone. To learn more about MAP International's work, please visit www.Map.org.
Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader of patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients, the company is dedicated to improving and enhancing lives through partnerships with clinicians and stakeholders across the global healthcare landscape. In 2004, the company established what is now Edwards Lifesciences Foundation. The foundation focuses on supporting underserved patients, as well as strengthening the communities in which the company’s employees live and work.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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