March 2019 -- Adar I-Adar II 5779,  Volume 25, Issue 3

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30,000 Pounds of Requested Medical Supplies Airlifted to Puerto Rico

On January 28, 30,000 pounds of requested medical supplies were unloaded from a 737 at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, and distributed to home care providers and a Federally Qualified Health Center in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. This airlift kicked off a visit the last week in January by President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton to Puerto Rico, where they will host the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network meeting with more than 500 leaders from business, government, and philanthropy to make commitments to support recovery on Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean region.


The 30,000 pounds of requested supplies includes hospital beds, ambulation devices, general primary medical supplies, exam tables, stretchers and more. Accion Social will distribute the equipment to home care providers that service over 1,000 older adults throughout the 76 municipalities, and to Federally Qualified Health Centers in Hatillo, Arecibo and Utuado that care for over 16,000 patients per year.


The  airlift was organized by the Afya Foundation, which has made previous commitments through the CGI Action Network. The transportation and airlift of supplies is funded by the Greater New York Hospital Association and Jan Soderberg of Pearl Aircraft; Swift Air, which donated the cargo space on the 737 jet; StratAir, which is assisting with the cargo buildup, breakdown, and ground handling; and coordination and support by the Clinton Foundation. In addition, Jan Soderberg has separately transported over 1,000 pounds of medical equipment through a separate flight on January 26. Accion Social, a large social service agency, will distribute the equipment to home care providers and the Federally Qualified Health Center in Hatillo, Puerto Rico.


“We are grateful for our many partnerships that come together quickly and thoughtfully to make the delivery of vitally needed supplies a reality”, said Danielle Butin, Afya’s Founder and CEO. “The items packed and shipped will create a significant shift in the ability of families and communities to care for loved ones at home”


“The Clinton Foundation’s work in Puerto Rico and across the region is based in the idea that everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to help people in need,” said Kevin Thurm, CEO of the Clinton Foundation. “Our Action Network builds on an approach that we know is effective – bringing leaders together from government, business, and civil society to make specific commitments to help those in need. Today’s airlift is a perfect example of how different groups can come together to make a difference, and I’m looking forward to seeing dozens of new commitments like this come together this week.”


“New York’s hospital community is honored to partner with Afya on this important humanitarian mission, which will vastly improve health care delivery in Hatillo, which continues to struggle from the impact of Hurricane Maria” said GNYHA Executive Vice President Lee Perlman. “Afya is an extraordinary organization that literally saves lives throughout the world, and GNYHA is proud to be a longtime partner.”


“Puerto Rico is the primary destination with our cargo aircraft and plays a critical role within our cargo network,” said Jeff Conry, CEO of Swift Air. “Swift Air is honored to work with Afya, the Clinton Foundation, Pearl Aircraft Corporation and all the other organizations and volunteers that have come together to assist the people of Puerto Rico and this worthy cause.”


“My company, Pearl Aircraft Corporation, is headquartered in Puerto Rico. I have a vested interest in the country and the well-being of the Puerto Rican people,” said Jan Soderberg, Chairman of Pearl Aircraft. “I feel it is my civic duty to give back to my fellow U.S. citizens, that is why I have provided my own private aircraft to ship the medical supplies that the Afya Foundation has so generously donated. I want to thank Jeff Conry and Swift Air for donating a cargo plane and pilots to fly these medical supplies from Miami to Puerto Rico, and the Afya Foundation for making this experience so positive and seamless.”


This shipment is one of many made possible by Afya’s long-term partnership with GNYHA.  Since Hurricane Maria, the two have partnered to send more than $6 million in medical and other supplies to health and social service providers throughout the island. This shipment is a follow-up to a November 2018 visit to Hatillo and is part of an ongoing campaign of support. In addition to its response to medical needs in Puerto Rico, Afya has shipped over 9 million pounds of supplies, valued at $36 million to 83 nations and territories.


In late January, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton convened the third meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, bringing together leaders from government, business, and civil society to make commitments to help communities impacted by the 2017 hurricane season. At the meeting, participants discuss the current recovery efforts in the region, progress to date, ongoing challenges, and progress on commitments that address critical issues such as food security, access to healthcare, small business support, sustainable tourism, and renewable energy. Over 30 new Commitments will also be announced, focused on continuing recovery and building resilience in the region.