On April 16 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Ecuador, killing over 525 people and leaving the resourced-strapped country scrambling to conduct adequate search, rescue and relief efforts.
"On behalf of our country, and on behalf of the provinces of Manadí and Esmeraldas, I thank you for your solidarity. I thank you in advance for everything you send, any and all assistance is welcome now," the minister said.
The minister also remarked that the biggest problem her agency is currently dealing with is the threat of epidemics.
"The response plan and epidemic control covers the shelters and the general population. We are actively intervening in all areas of the disaster through fumigating spaces, combined with pest management, treating injuries, reacting immediately to disease outbreaks and providing vaccinations against tetanus, measles, hepatitis and Spanish flu to the populace as well as police, medical and military personnel," she explained.
According to Guevara, health services are already on the lookout for possible outbreaks of leptospirosis in Manadí and malaria in Esmeraldas, as well as for diseases caused by consumption of spoiled food, like diarrhea. Medical personnel are also trying to prevent potential Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue virus outbreaks in the afflicted regions.
The minister pointed out that Ecuadorian healthcare services are also closely cooperating with the Pan American Health Organization and with UNICEF in provide the populace with an adequate supply of clear drinking water.