Elsa Castro lost her home in the rural community of Punto Oro because of Hurricane Maria, but rebuilding after the storm was the least of her worries.
The storm cut her community off from aid in the days after the storm, making it difficult for her to get food and water. More importantly, it made it difficult for her and her family to get medical care.
“I worry about my sister who has cancer,” she said.
“This is my main concern since I am her main caregiver.”
Elsa also faces her own challenges. She’s 76, and suffers from has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Hurricane Maria made it more challenging for her to get the care and medicines she needs in order to keep her blood sugar and hypertension in check.
Her challenge is not uncommon in Puerto Rico. Many who live on the interior of the island have had limited access to medical care due to damaged roads, limited communication and other challenges caused by Hurricane Maria’s destruction. Project HOPE has responded to these challenges by setting up a mobile medical clinic in Puerto Rico, visiting hard-to-reach parts of the island that have not received care since the storm struck.
Recently the clinic, staffed with three nurse practitioners, two medical practitioners and a doctor, set up at a food and water distribution center near Elsa’s home. The team was able to provide Elsa with the care and medicines she needed to get her diabetes and heart issues back under control, so she could get back to focusing on her sister’s needs.
“I hope for a better world and that families can find sufficient food and water in the immediate future,” she said. “Project HOPE’s mobile clinic provided fantastic services!”
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