Nineteen months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, Direct Relief International continues to provide direct cash investments to support the healthcare infrastructure in the region. In March, Direct Relief furnished $75,000 to St. Charles Community Health Center. The Center, with locations in Kenner and Luling, Louisiana has provided quality health services to the underserved and uninsured residents in the greater New Orleans area since 2002. St. Charles offers many health services such as family practice and pediatric healthcare, behavioral healthcare, podiatry care, allergy/asthma specialty care, and public health services.

Since Hurricane Katrina and Rita, it is estimated that the Latino population in the New Orleans area has doubled, creating inadequate access to health care for many individuals. Overall, prenatal care for under-insured and uninsured population in the greater New Orleans area has become extremely difficult to access due to the reduction in capacity and closings of previously available providers. Latino women are in particular need of care, but many are ineligible for Medicaid and have difficulty accessing care due to language and cultural barriers.

To address this need, the Center has implemented the Centering Pregnancy Program at the Kenner facility which will strengthen the provision of maternal and child health services in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. The cash investment from Direct Relief will fund the employment of an nurse midwife at the Center who will oversee the program.

It has been 19 months since Katrina and Rita struck and there is still a compelling need for assistance in the Gulf Coast communities. Direct Relief is committed to providing medical material aid and targeted cash grant assistance to quality healthcare providers in the Gulf for as long as it is needed.

To date, Direct Relief has furnished $31.4 million in post-hurricane aid to the Gulf Coast, composed of $26.8 million in medical material aid and $4.6 million in targeted financial investments.