Sep 3, 2020

Covid Emergency in Haiti: St.Luc Hospital in the front-line

St.Luc Covid-19 Caregivers
St.Luc Covid-19 Caregivers

Dear friends,

I well remember years ago an older woman named Helen, who used to mark the distances in her travels by how many rosaries she prayed along the way. This pious practice didn’t make her any less human- she was still quite a character, funny and feisty, full of enjoyable contradiction. But it did make her wise.

The world has had its own way to mark the very short span of time since COVID-19 appeared in the human family, from December 2019 until today. The time has been short, yet the impact incalculable from every angle.

The passing of these past eight months has been measured by vast statistical presentations, dramatic world and national events (both viral related and not), and by no shortage of confrontations, some admirable and some quite disturbing. In Haiti, we share the same way of measuring the time of Covid 19, with statistics, dramatic events, and passionate confrontations.

Since Coronavirus has been lethal primarily for adults, we remember clearly the day of our first known case at St Luke Hospital on March 16, 2020. Since then, we have welcomed 1,068 proven or highly suspect cases. Of these, 703 were seriously ill and needed admission our 100 bed Coronavirus unit.

Of these 703 admitted, 173 did not survive the tough battle raging in their lungs, and 98 of these were dead on arrival. We are so pleased that the 365 outpatients recovered well, and we were thrilled with the 421 inpatients who recovered and were able to return home.

There were 52 patients who left against medical advice, to seek other forms of treatment, and 32 who were transferred to other centers for more private care.

There are 25 who are still in our beds, which shows a decrease from 95% capacity (of 100 beds) for May and June, to 25% at present.

This is the passing of our time, marked in statistics.

There is also the human measure of these days.

Think of emotions and anguish of the sick people, who were ashamed of the “Corona” label, who were ostracized and threatened by a panicked population, and were scared of both dying and living.

Think of the emotions and anguish for all of us care givers, with so many of our patients being either employees or friends, neighbors from past and present, and infected members of our own team, whose very service to the Covid 19 patients made them ill.

Measuring humanly, we have our own passionate stories of what it was like receiving all those who arrived dead, on motorcycle “ambulances,” and doors used as stretchers, and their grieving families who came with them in great numbers, and how this left tracks on our hearts and minds.

And how this multiplied the fear and anxiety in all of us, with every new cough or slight fever.

Think what it was like for staff and families to face the agonal deaths of those whose treatment was no match for the rage of their infection.

Measuring humanly, we rode the rollercoaster of steep ups and downs, with the raising and falling of each person’s blood oxygen level, measured on their fingertip oximeter. We constantly offered calm, reassuring words not to give up, to be patient, to be courageous and hopeful.

We fought alongside those with falling oxygen levels, as we leveraged all available treatments to help them, as well as keeping them on their sides or stomachs, making teas for them, praying with them and for them, blessing them with the holy oils, - even as we looked at each other through masks and fogged goggles with deep worry.

We rejoiced with those whose levels rose and rose, slowly, and saw them through, and we were deeply pained for those who died in a frightful hunger for air.

For those of us all around the world who were, and continue to be, caregivers on the front lines, we have had lot of flesh in the game, and sweat, blood and tears.

These of course, were not our only activities in 2020 up to today. Nor, of course, were your activities limited to Covid-19 survival. Trying to keep the children in our programs and schools isolated and safe required phenomenal amounts of time and creativity. We marked the passing of these months with a keen eye on the opening of banks (no money, no food) and markets (to buy especially what the sick and the children needed). We marked the passing of these months also by receiving overflows of patients from other hospitals, especially for trauma and burns. We marked the passing of these months dealing with refugee women and children fleeing gun battles around the city who arrived at our very doors. (There are still about 60 under our wings at our St Mary Center in Cite Soleil).

Yet we stand a chance to grow in wisdom, in grace and in the discovery of surprising solutions to many problems, solutions which will guarantee well-being for the whole human family and the earth itself. We need to seek truth together, freely and in good will.

I thank you most sincerely, now more than ever, for your support which has helped us to be there for the people in this great time of need.


Fr Rick Frechette


Jul 23, 2020

Covid Emergency: 23 Hospitals helped in 17 cities Italy

During the lockdown and the most dramatic months of pandemic in Italy, Fondazione Francesca Rava NPH Italia has been working tirelessly to help Intensive Care Units and Hospitalsin Milan and in other cities in Italy. In 2 months (March-April 2020) 23 hospitals in 7 Regions in Italy have been helped.

Francesca Rava Foundation has donated to Policlinico di Milano Hospital beds and medical equipment to open a new Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit with 16 beds: the new ICU opened its doors on 27th March 2020 and has been fully operating up to June 2020. The new Covid ICU is a permanent donation and will be of great help in case of new waves of pandemic. 

Francesca Rava Foundation has also donated beds and medical equipment to Ospedale Sacco in Milan: a new Covid-19 Sub-Intensive Unit has opened its doors with 30 beds and the necessary medical equipment.

Francesca Rava Foundation has helped hospitals with donations of medical equipment, and DPI, in Bergamo, Turin, Genoa, Rome, Naples, Agrigento, Siracusa, and Augusta in Sicily, just to name the major cities. As a total, 43 ecographs, 3 cardiotocographers, 44 monitors, 46 ventilators and other medical equipment for helped breathing, more than 1.000 instruments for monitoring vital parameters, 8.500 surgical masks and 2.200 protective coveralls have been donated to Italian Hospitals and will remain a permanent asset of Hospital, strenghtening the capacity to respond to new waves of pandemic.

Now, Francesca Rava Foundation is engaged in helping Maternity Wards in Italy, with its project Life's stronger than CovidMaternity Wards need to be equipped to open doors and to care for pregnant women affected by Covid, while safeguarding Birth and Delivery paths for all the other women. Francesca Rava Foundation has already helped the Covid Maternity Hubs at Policlinico di Milano and Ospedale Sacco Hospitals in Milan and is helping other Maternity Wards in Italy.

Also the project for children and families in need is going on. SOS Spesa program is helping families, old lone-people, shelter homes for children and for mothers, and fragile people hit by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the lockdown. Francesca Rava Foundation prepares and donates food (pasta, sugar, rice, olive oil, biscuits and crackers, canned goods), sanitary products for newborns and babies (diapers, sanitary towels, powder milk, soft food), surgical masks, tablets and smartphones for online learning. Up to now Francesca Rava Foundation has helped more than 73 shelter homes and 4900 families in Italy, but we still need your help!

Our volunteer in the Maternity Ward
Our volunteer in the Maternity Ward


Jun 10, 2020

Update on Coronavirus from NPH Mexico

Rafael Bermudez, National Director of NPH Mexico
Rafael Bermudez, National Director of NPH Mexico

Hi everybody, 


I am Rafael Bermudez, national director NPH Mexico since 2004, which means 16 years of serving with passion and love to almost 700 pequenos and pequenas.

At NPH Mexico we have five houses in three different Mexican states. In all the five houses we have prepared a disinfected area for possible asymptomatic patients developing the three symptoms,  like having breathing problems before doing the coronavirus official test. We have two doctors and four nurses that are attending the three houses in the state of Morelos for possible asymptomatic patients. At the end of April the health Mexicans authorities declared that we are now in phase three which means most people will get the Coronavirus at a large scale.

In our main house in Miacatlan, casa San Salvador, we have completely locked ourselves. Nobody enters and nobody leaves. Out of 140 employees only 24 decided voluntarily to  stay with us with their own families. With 67 acres of land we have our farm, field , three green houses, kitchen, bakery and tortilleria and we are rotating our 24 employees to provide everyday for about 400 children that live here. 

It is a challenge, but we are all contributing so that we can all comprehend that our house can continue to run with 24 employees, 2 volunteers that stay and about 60 pequenos giving their service.

Our home in Cuernavaca, casa Juan señor, home to our technical high school students has also been locked up since Tuesday March 17th. We are operating without any employees and about 160 pequnos. 

We are following the recommendations that NPH medical services is sending and every NPH house has bought supplies in advance.  We have medical materials for possible asymptomatic pequenos, so that our medical stuff is protected in case there is the first case of positive coronavirus in one of our five houses.

We have in our storage room the basic food to operate until beginning of June since we decided to buy it in advance before there was nothing left in the market, because the Mexican government is taking supplies at a large scale.

The school continues either by internet platform or the teacher sending it physically or we, the tios, in Miacatlan making copies to continue with the expertise in the three levels of school. 

I see the children at NPH- Mexico mentally fine, since they have different activities every day and we have decided now to ask again what activity they would like to do today instead of the tio always assigning the activities for the everyday. Another activity that we are doing is walks around our 67 acres and we discovered that it takes us about two hours and a half to walk all of it.

At last, everyday, we pray for all of you, sponsors and benefactors and for our family outside and for the medical staff that is saving and taking care of many sick people in the world. 


God bless you, 



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