Puerto Rico Faces Many Challenges

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Photo shows the drought affecting the Carraizo reservoir in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Photo taken from http://www.foxnews.com (Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File); August 7th, 2015

Puerto Rico continues to face many challenges including a severe water drought, a crisis in health care, and worsening financial conditions. The recent record-breaking drought has affected 2.5 million residents living on the eastern side of the island, where water rationing has resulted in island-wide business closings and a damaged tourist industry. The drought has also exacerbated a growing financial crisis, leading Puerto Rico to default on its debts without any clear solution in sight. Large cuts to Medicare and Medicaid enacted in response to the fiscal crisis have further undermined the quality of health care and have disproportionately affected the poor and chronically ill.

PROTECT is working to better understand these challenges, and to provide practical and innovative solutions such as ecologically sustainable water remediation technologies and improved prenatal care delivery. PROTECT is actively researching causes of preterm birth and adverse pregnancy outcomes, and partnering with local and national organizations to reduce the preterm birth rate. Finally, PROTECT has actively engaged with community and advocacy groups in Puerto Rico to educate young women on prenatal care, and ways to reduce exposure to unhealthy environmental chemicals in water and personal care products as a means of improving the lives and health of Puerto Rican women and their families.