Witnessing devastation like what we have seen in Haiti since the earthquake on January 12 leaves everyone asking what little bit they can do to help. What is certain is that a natural disaster of this scale requires a coordinated response across many disciplines and a sustained international effort from public health and relief organizations. The CDC Injury Center is supporting an agency wide effort to work with partners and immediately address the public health needs of the Haiti earthquake survivors.
Latest reports from the Haitian government estimate the dead and injury toll from the earthquake at 200,000 dead and 250,000 injured. Given that the general public, deployed providers and others will be delivering care to the majority of injured patients, it is critical that these providers receive “just in time” trauma care guidelines for the types of injuries they will encounter following an earthquake of this magnitude.
The Injury Center is committed to improving injury prevention and response practices and has developed the following resources that are available via the web and mobile telephone to assist in the immediate treatment and medium to long-term recovery efforts in Haiti. Please share these life saving resources with all those – friends, family members, doctors, nurses, etc. – who are or may be providing assistance to the injured in Haiti, many of whom will not be trained in emergency medical care.
Earthquake Fact Sheets – http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/clinicians.asp
Wound Care Fact Sheet – http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/emergwoundhcp.asp
Crush Injuries Fact Sheet – http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/crush.asp
Mobile Phone Access – http://m.cdc.gov/
Wound care fact sheets in French and Kreyol (Haitian Creole) and crush injuries fact sheets in French and Kreyol are now available on-line. Please post these resources to your websites to extend our reach to those in need.
We believe the above fact sheets will provide valuable information to assist the care providers who receive them. However, we also recognize that state of the art trauma care and disaster relief rarely go hand in hand. We therefore support the use of effective and realistic solutions for treating people in disaster situations. A good example of an “effective solution” that will minimize the spread of infection, especially for delayed wound care, is “pressure irrigating” a wound. By puncturing a small hole in the bottom of an unopened plastic water bottle, the bottle can then be used as a pressure irrigation device in both new and delayed wound care. Innovative and realistic solutions such as this could potentially save lives and limbs in Haiti.
For more information about injury care following earthquakes, please contact the CDC Information Desk 1-800-CDC-INFO or go to http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/