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Hurricane Maria Experiences in Villalba

Apeaderos, Villalba

On November 3, 2017, the public health intervention teams headed back to Villalba, PR.  Since our first visit, the community expressed the need of psychological and clinical help. This time the Wellness and psychological teams joined us in this journey.  After we arrived at the Emergency Management Center at Villalba the teams split into two groups. One of the teams went to Apeaderos and the other team to Cubones.

In this review, we will talk about our experience in Apeaderos.  The Municipality of Villalba provided us with transportation to the site, it was a difficult road with various landslides.  As soon as the team arrived at the communal center, we started the setup of the clinic.  Medical doctors, nurses, social workers and psychology residents came with us this time.  As soon as the community saw us arrived, they started coming to the center, but there were people that were difficult to reach. The public health team along with the community leader went house by house providing public health preventive measures and inviting them to join us at the communal center.  As we started walking through the community, we were amazed of the many hidden houses that where not visible from the road.  People received us with a lot of hospitality and gratitude. During our walks and with the help of the community leader we identified a couple of persons that were going to have difficulty reaching the clinic. One of those visits was to a small house, nearby the river, to reach the house we had to go down a hill, with a dirt road full of rocks.  In that house, we met Don Pablo, a man with very limited eyesight, as we spoke to him, we knew it was going to be very difficult for him to get to the clinic.  We told him that we were going to visit him back in the afternoon.  We went back to the communal center and provided the intervention to the people in the clinic.  After the teams finished with all participants, the teams went to visit a few families with people in need of care and we went back to visit Don Pablo. He was ready for us when we got back, he was very excited to talk to us.  Dr. Rodriguez, the rest of team Wellness and psychology also went to visit him.  This integration of Programs from PHSU provided this community with all components of health. Each participant received medicines, food, first need articles and the empowerment to help prevent further diseases and to spread their knowledge in their community.


By: Luisa Morales, DrPH

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