The Covid-19 crisis in Haiti is much worse than it was when C2C first launched our campaign on GlobalGiving. As of July 31, 2020, Haiti has confirmed 7,412 cases of Covid-19 and 161 deaths. However, the reality is likely much worse--only two labs in the entire country are able to process Covid-19 tests and experts fear the real number of infections is much greater than what is being reported. In March, the government called for a brief country-wide lockdown, but by May the number of cases began steadily increasing once businesses reopened. A senior official at the WHO recently stated concern for Haiti due to “its unique circumstances, unique fragility and the fact that the disease is accelerating in a highly vulnerable population.”
Over the past few months, C2C has continued to work with Haiti’s Ministry of Health every day to support the government’s Covid response, adapting our plans and priorities as the crisis continues to evolve. Just like in the US, public health education has been crucial to preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we serve--but it has not been easy.
“For us, the main way to deal with the pandemic in Haiti is prevention,” says C2C’s Chief Operating Officer Dr. Samuel Bernard. At first, our staff found it challenging to convince people to follow best practices for virus mitigation. “People didn’t want to hear about [the virus] because they didn’t trust that it was real,” reflects Dr. Bernard. “Asking patients to wear masks, washing their hands before entering our clinics, was a fight. But, by providing education many times a day in the clinics [and the communities], our patients finally understood that they should follow the protocol to avoid being infected.”
Our Covid-19 clinical and community education activities would not be possible without your support. We will continue to respond to Covid-19 in northern Haiti until this crisis is over and we thank you for all you have done for C2C during these difficult times!
C2C’s Maternal Health Program continues to operate at our clinics in Camp Coq and Acul du Nord. However, due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic in Haiti, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our staff by temporarily delaying the expansion of this program to our Bayeux clinic.
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we were able to procure an ultrasound system and hire and train the staff that will run the Maternal Health Program at our next clinic. At this time, we are responding directly to the COVID-19 pandemic in the vulnerable communities we serve in Haiti and spreading reliable information about the virus and best practices for prevention through community education activities. If you’d like to help our COVID-19 response efforts, you can visit our GlobalGiving project “Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19.” We hope to have better news regarding the status of our program expansion in the near future. For now, here is a patient story from our Acul du Nord clinic!
Angeline, 35 years old, came to our Acul du Nord clinic on March 12, 2020 for her fifth prenatal visit, her last one before delivery. This is Angeline’s third pregnancy and she has been very satisfied with the service she has received from C2C for her prenatal care. “I am always given a warm welcome, especially by the midwife. I will definitely come back after my delivery to thank her again for all she has done for me.” Angeline first came to our clinic for her prenatal care because she was referred by her father and sister who already used C2C’s primary care services. After her first visit, she began to recommend the clinic to other pregnant women she knew, and they came to C2C for their maternity care as well. “The Maternal Health Program is really great,” she says, “I especially like that prenatal care services include all of the labs and meds I need.”
Although this was Angeline’s third pregnancy, it was her first under C2C’s Maternal Health Program. She appreciated how much C2C’s obstetrician cared about her pregnancy by encouraging Angeline to come to all of the recommended prenatal visits to better prepare for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Other health facilities that she sought antenatal care from in the past did not provide the educational component that C2C does. Even on her third pregnancy, there was so much she could still learn and she felt empowered to make better decisions. This was especially important since her age meant a higher-risk pregnancy. The success of our program is evidenced by our staff’s ability to improve Angeline’s health-seeking behavior compared to her previous pregnancies.