Below is an update on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) response and recovery efforts related to the earthquakes in Haiti.
- An AAP leadership team regularly reviews situation reports and participates in discussions related to relief efforts in Haiti. Discussions are ongoing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The focus of these efforts is to facilitate a coordinated pediatric response.
- The response to requests for help has been tremendous. Our NACHRI colleagues report that more than 20 children's hospitals have formed teams and approximately 600 healthcare professionals are ready to provide care in Haiti. In addition, more than 630 AAP members not affiliated with a children's hospital have expressed interest in providing medical services in Haiti.
- The AAP is working with federal agencies and manufacturers to facilitate shipment of vaccines, medicine and supplies to Haiti through safe and reliable mechanisms.
- AAP leadership has ongoing discussions and collaborations with NGOs that support pediatric missions in Haiti. Specific information on opportunities for involvement can be found at www.aap.org/disasters.
- A needs assessment by our colleagues at the Haitian Pediatric Society (HPS) is underway. Additionally, a message has been sent to our members in Haiti. AAP leaders are meeting with the HPS leaders soon to determine a plan for long-term support and recovery.
- We are interested in determining the status of pediatric residents and medical students affected by this disaster. The educational needs of displaced pediatric residents as well as the ongoing educational needs of pediatricians who care for children in Haiti will also be addressed at the appropriate time.
- The AAP is developing a brief survey to be distributed to pediatricians who have provided care to children in Haiti in order to better understand the needs and ways we might help.
The response of our members and your generosity and support has been extraordinary. Donations to our Friends of Children Disaster Relief Fund, ear-marked for Haiti, total about $130,000.
Unfortunately, the unmet health needs of the population, especially children, continue to be poorly quantified at present. The problems are immense and require long-term, sustainable effort. The AAP and its leadership intend to continue to be strategic, effective, and thoughtful in our use of resources to obtain the optimal health of all children.
Judith S. Palfrey, MD, FAAP