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Sebelius Tells VOA Medical Supplies Increase Dramatically in Haiti

'Infrastructure challenges in Haiti are pretty significant'

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Washington, D.C., January 22, 2010 – The head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), told the Voice of America (VOA) Friday that medical supplies have increased dramatically in Haiti, and will continue to pour into the country.

"The infrastructure challenges in Haiti are pretty significant and the airport is limited," Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview in her office. Flights are prioritized based on various needs, including security, food and water, and medical help.

VOA, which broadcasts worldwide in English and 44 other languages, reaches millions of Haitians daily in their native language, Creole. Sebelius' interview will be aired by VOA's Creole Service, which has expanded its broadcasting to 10.5 hours on weekdays and 9.5 hours on weekends. The television interview will also be carried by VOA's other services.

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"The good news is that the medical supplies have dramatically increased in the last couple of days," Sebelius said, adding additional supplies are available.

She said HHS has 300 medical personnel on the ground, where they have seen over 7,000 patients. An additional 600 people are working from the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship.

"Every day there are more people seen, more people treated, more supplies," Sebelius said. HHS personnel are serving Haitians in Port-au-Prince, the capital, as well as those in the outlying mountain communities.

Sworn in as HHS Secretary on April 28, 2009, Sebelius oversees one of the largest civilian departments in the federal government, with nearly 80,000 employees.

VOA's Creole broadcasts are available on various radio frequencies from a U.S. Department of Defense airborne transmitter flying over Haiti, and from U.S.-based transmitters. The service, available at, also has an active social media component with Twitter and Facebook.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail