CERF improves rural health centers damaged by hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras

Honduras| 2023 | CERF

Honduras, Puerto Cortés. Dr. Alba Rita Sámbula heads  the Bajamar Health Centre, which serves about 11,000 people. In November 2020, the devastating storms Eta and Iota that hit the region, severely affecting her community. It submerged the health centre under water, damaging the facilities and compromising the health of staff and patients.

The water had destroyed medicines, stretchers, files, vaccines and essential medical equipment. The roof of the building had completely lifted off, “revealing an unhealthy state due to its age and the presence of pigeon droppings, posing a health risk to staff already suffering from respiratory diseases,” said Dr. Sámbula.

Baja Mar is an Afro-descendant Garífuna community in the department of Cortés, located in an area of high vulnerability to flooding due to the impact of meteorological events. Located 30 minutes from the city of Puerto Cortes, its streets are made of dirt, which makes access difficult during the rainy season.

With many unmet health needs in vulnerable municipalities affected by multiple crises, a Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) project intervened in the Bajamar Health Centre during 2022 and 2023 as well as other health facilities in Cortes and three other affected regions, in order to ensure availability and continuity of healthcare services.

Dr. Sámbula became the main promoter of the changes needed to improve conditions at the health centre. Thanks to CERF project funds, the external infrastructure of the building was restored. Toilets for patients were built, providing greater comfort and privacy.

In addition, the roof of the facility was completely repaired. Not only were the problems caused by the storms solved, but significant improvements were made to the structure, including cleaning up the pigeon-related damage.

 But the improvements were not just limited to the physical infrastructure. Dr. Sámbula and her team also received new medical equipment and supplies, ensuring that they could provide quality care to patients. In addition, the health centre was painted and renovated, creating a more welcoming and dignified environment for both staff and patients.

The benefits of these interventions were immediate and noticeable. Health workers were able to work in more suitable conditions, which had a positive impact on their health and well-being. The risk of respiratory illness due to exposure to an unsanitary ceiling was eliminated, resulting in a lower rate of absenteeism and an increase in the quality of care provided.

Patients also benefited from access to cleaner and safer facilities, resulting in greater confidence in health services and a better overall experience. Dr. Sámbula and her team felt reinvigorated and motivated to continue providing quality care to their community.

More information on the CERF allocation: https://cerf.un.org/what-we-do/allocation/2023/country/42/23-UF-HND-58588/23-UF-WHO-017