Dr. Danel: So our first—we have many many different partnerships…Our top priority is working with our member states, because that’s our role, it’s to provide technical assistance to the to our member states. And as I said, PAHO is really the secretariat, the headquarters and the member states…but we cannot do that on our own because we don’t have all the expertise that we need. So we do for Zika in particular pulled in especially when Microcephaly was identified in October as…potentially related to Zika and of course, now it’s been confirmed that it it is related to Zika using the data…we worked with, in particular with CDC for this particular issue [microcephaly}, with health Canada, with lots of other experts who have expertise in arboviral diseases and pulled together missions very quickly, first to Brazil but then to other countries. Because we knew that this was going to spread based on our experience with Chikungunya, we almost new exactly where it was going to spread and how quickly it was going to spread, which is very quickly…So the missions involved as well, others experts and partners. And our country offices…were also working with their partners which are the NGOs on the ground that are helping the ministries operationalize all the plans that they have. We also, I think very importantly…since there was so much we didn’t know about Zika, in early March, we pulled together a research meeting to identify…to develop a research agenda, identify the research priorities, help people get who know how to do the research that’s needed…start working towards…doing the research so that we could have the knowledge that comes from that research that’s going to help us better prevent and control the disease. And we’ve had you know lots of meetings on Arboviruses. In fact right now, there’s a big meeting going on in Cuba…As we’ve moved along and advanced and learn about what’s working, what’s not, what’s working better, what’s not, we bring a lot of people together to share that knowledge…And we’ve worked very closely with the World Health Organization…because Zika has been identified in parts of Africa, Western Africa in particular. I mean it came from Africa but this new virus…I think actually we’re still not exactly sure how it evolved and where it evolved...But we know that this strain has been now found in parts of West Africa, so we’re working with WHO and sharing information…initially on a daily basis, and now it’s sort of on a weekly basis to make sure that they can also help countries in other regions of the world who are interested in this.
Dr. Danel: PAHO does have a long history of experience with natural disasters. Unfortunately, the region of the Americas is one of the regions that’s most heavily hit by natural disasters. We have earthquakes, we have volcanoes, we have hurricanes, we have flooding, we have droughts. So all of those things can require, depending on how severe they are, assistance form PAHO, and so when there’s an emergency, we mobilize teams, we mobilize a response. We have a sub regional office in the Caribbean, and we have a sub regional office in Panama, and we’re putting together a sub regional office in South America. So we have an expert team already in the Caribbean because…something happens almost every year in the Caribbean, and again, there’s people there that have been involved in multiple hurricane disaster responses with lot of experience. So when Matthews happened, that’s what we did. We mobilized a team, we activated our emergency operations center in headquarters so that we could communicate daily and, you know, get the resources and mobilize money, and mobilize people to go to Haiti. And we actually had, we actually mobilized people before the hurricane hit. Because we knew that after it hit, we weren’t going to be able to get people down there…and people did arrive in the Bahamas before Matthews hit and in Jamaica before the hurricane hit…But the folks that were going to Haiti got to Miami and then they closed the airport because they closed it on Sunday…so then they arrived after. But we have a big country office in Haiti and of course that office was also setting itself up, they have an emergency operations center there that’s working with our emergency operation center. And they had already mobilized some of the stocks that they were going to need…we have a big storehouse there too. And then once the disaster happened, there is the UN, in Latin America, I think there’s a very effective disaster response from the UN, because PAHO does the health piece. We are the lead for the health cluster when there is an emergency. So we are doing surveillance, identifying diseases, making sure that, you know, thinking about water and sanitation, but there’s a lot of other issues. There’s housing, food, and those are not things that PAHO can deal with so there are other pieces of the UN that do that, OCHA…They are the office that leads…the humanitarian response. So we coordinate with…the other offices to provide relief. And with the ministry of health…Haiti, the situation, it’s one of the worst that we’ve seen. I mean, it was very heavily…affected….and on top of that, Haiti has had cholera since a couple of months after the earthquake, so we knew that…it was fairly clear that cholera was going to be a very big issue in that disaster area…so we were already also preparing ourselves for an increase in cholera cases… we moved some of those [ministry of health] teams to the affected areas…and brought in chlorination…tablets, and I think other agencies are bringing in clean water. And doing our best to address that issue, which is a big one in Haiti.