Mar 22, 2021

Reflecting on one year of COVID-19 in Haiti

Two years ago, life in Haiti seemed normal yet still consisted of many struggles, from poverty and lack of education & healthcare, to political uprisings and a continuously crashing economy. Fast forward to 2020, and still the same struggles endured amid a global pandemic. The unknown loomed in a country with clustered public transportation, where pickup trucks are often filled with 20+ people packed together. How do people practice social distancing in such an environment? Well, they simply cannot. Out of necessity, life had to continue without the possibility of precautions for the masses. A lucky few could afford social distancing—which remains a luxury. 

Today, a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Haiti and the first wave began, the country has somehow been spared the worst. In a population of almost 12 million people, less than 13,000 positive cases have been confirmed and 250 deaths. In contrast, Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, has faced 247,000 positive cases and more than 3,000 deaths. The reason for this drastic difference remains unknown. We can speculate that it is due to Haiti’s very young population, where fifty percent are under 23 years of age. We can make guesses that herbal medicine has treated unknown cases or we rapidly reached herd immunity. We can continue to speculate but the truth is that we still do not know.

Luckily for us at C2C, thanks in part to the generous support of GlobalGiving donors, we do have the resources to keep our staff and patients safe. We are able to provide an environment where social distancing is practiced, hand-washing stations are available, and educational material on prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 are shared. Within the past year, behavior towards the virus has gone from people instigating violence or harm towards individuals who admitted to having symptoms and institutions trying to protect the population from the spread of the virus, to people believing that there is no more COVID-19 in Haiti. All of these thoughts and ideas were driven by lack of knowledge about the virus. From day one, C2C has worked to bring awareness to the issue and educate our patient population on the precautions that should be taken to reduce the spread. We know that health education plays an important role in fighting the COVID-19 myths that erode trust in healthcare. For that reason, we continue to educate our patients and the communities we serve until this day.

During the summer of 2020, the government lifted all restrictions related to the virus and the country got back to ‘normal’ life. However, at C2C we felt that we needed to continue to provide the necessary resources to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Together, we worked with our community leaders to create a safer environment for our patient population when it came to their daily routines. We provided more than 50 buckets to be used as washing stations that were placed at churches, school entrances, and in areas with a high population density. As part of our continued campaign to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are currently still installing more than 100 tippy taps in the communities we serve. 

The reality is that we are still going through a global pandemic and no matter what the data says, precautions still need to be taken daily. We have come a long way since the first case was reported in the country exactly a year ago and we are proud to have kept all our clinic doors open to serve the communities that need it the most.

As we continue to fight COVID-19, our mission remains unchanged. We will continue to ensure that vulnerable communities in Haiti have access to high-quality care to safeguard the health of themselves and their families. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported C2C on GlobalGiving during this difficult time. Our work would not be possible without your generosity! Haiti is still grappling with the impacts of COVID-19 and we do not yet know when the vaccine will be readily available to our communities. Please continue to share our campaign and spread the word about C2C!

Feb 2, 2021

How C2C Provides Quality Maternal Care in Haiti

C2C’s maternal health program currently runs at three C2C clinics: Camp Coq, l’Acul du Nord, and, thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community, Bayeux. Our team is made up of an OBGYN, a midwife, and an auxiliary nurse. The same team works at our three sites, providing consistency and stability across the clinics. As of this month, the team is being managed by our Chief Medical Officer, which provides more accountability and reassurance.

The team goes once a week to each of our three clinics and provides prenatal care to the rural population. We usually have a maximum capacity of 25 patients a day. However, with the increased popularity of our maternal health program in Camp Coq, we had to add two extra days of consultation a month so that we do not have to turn away any women and can consult everyone that enters our clinic. Currently, the total average number of prenatal visits per day is around 22.

The team provides high-quality medical consultation to pregnant women by following an established protocol which defines the visit schedule, systematic preventions, management of complications, and the indications for referral to the hospital. This protocol respects the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and WHO for prenatal follow-up. Also, service providers have at their disposal a brochure that details advice they should give to pregnant women.

In their last evaluation, the maternal health care providers had a very satisfactory rating for the greeting, counseling, and compliance with the protocol. When it comes to the maternal care package that we provide, it includes complete clinic assessment, laboratory tests, obstetric ultrasound, iron, and vitamin supplementation, childbirth planning, follow-up calls, and a postnatal home visit.

The midwife consults all pregnant women after they are registered by the auxiliary nurse. She assesses them, orders lab tests, and prescribes medication. Afterward, she refers them to the OBGYN. Usually, the OBGYN will see all women coming for their first and last visit, all women who need to have an ultrasound, and all women who have complications. The gynecologist manages those cases or refers them to the hospital if necessary. The auxiliary nurse calls the patients to remind them of their visit and check on their status. Then, she gives a list of the women who have given birth to the community health team so they can schedule a postnatal visit.

According to the maternal health staff, the majority of pregnancies monitored in the program are uncomplicated and have good outcomes. The rare complications are linked to early age pregnancies and high blood pressure. We usually can manage these cases in our clinics if detected early and there is almost no need to refer to the hospitals for complications.

In summary, the maternal health program works very well in our three clinics. Our hope for the future is to expand the program to our network of clinics.

Nov 30, 2020

An Update on Covid-19 in Haiti!

Some good news from Haiti--new daily Covid-19 cases have declined significantly since the last time you heard from us. After 9 months of pandemic, Haiti has had less than 10,000 cases and 300 deaths. Due to its very poor health infrastructure, we were expecting much higher numbers since the Dominican Republic (our neighboring country) was reporting an extremely high number of cases towards the beginning of the pandemic. 

 

When the first case was reported in Haiti, there was a lot of stigma associated with Covid-19. People burned health centers because they didn’t want Covid-19 in their area or were physically violent to people showing signs of the virus. This kind of attitude was caused by fear or lack of education about Covid-19. Many people hid their symptoms, afraid of being targeted or isolated by their communities. At C2C, from the beginning of the pandemic, we have educated our patients about the virus. We show informational videos in the waiting room, our registration nurses talk about the signs of the virus and best practices every morning before consultation starts, and our community health team travels to remote areas and talks to the communities about the best practices to reduce the spread of the virus.

 

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have put in place a protocol that outlines the steps to take when we have a patient showing signs and symptoms of Covid-19. Furthermore, we are in direct contact with the Ministry of Health and whenever we suspect a patient might be infected we call them and they schedule a test at the patient's home or in our clinics. Even though we were not sure how the pandemic would affect Haiti, we kept all of our clinics open. We selected an area in each clinic where patients would be isolated if they showed signs or symptoms of Covid-19. We put a handwashing station at the entrance of all our clinics and every patient coming in or leaving must wash their hands. We took the temperature of every individual that entered the clinic. And, all our staff is equipped with PPE even though it currently costs three times the price to buy PPE and hand sanitizers in the country. This was all possible because of YOUR support!

 

At C2C, we remain cautiously optimistic. Second waves in Europe and the US have presented a stark reminder of just how important it is to continue to take this pandemic seriously. While it’s been admittedly difficult to adjust to this “new normal,” we cannot let our guard down and must continue to adhere to virus mitigation best practices. 

 

We are grateful for your generous support which has allowed us to be better prepared to handle a second wave of Covid-19 in Haiti. Thank you so much for all you’ve done to support C2C during this unprecedented year as we continue to provide high-quality primary care in northern Haiti!

 
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