COVID-19  Haiti Project #46139

Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19

by Care 2 Communities
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19
Haiti Relief Fund for COVID-19

As of this past May, we have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases throughout Haiti. On May 14, the Ministry of Health announced that the national laboratory discovered two new variants from Brazil and the United Kingdom that have been found in Haiti. Unfortunately, the Haitian population has not been as resistant to the new variants as it seemed to be when COVID-19 first appeared in Haiti in March 2020.

Thankfully, COVID-19 testing has become more available and accessible in Haiti. Hospitals have recently been overwhelmed with treating COVID-19 patients, and lack beds and oxygen, which is already not readily available in Haiti. Hospitals are having to turn down patients with less severe cases and sending them home without treatment. 

Consider the reality of Haiti’s situation. The pandemic may be receding in the US, but in Haiti, barely a two-hour flight away, the vaccination roll-out has not even begun. Haiti is the only country in the western hemisphere that has not vaccinated a single person against COVID-19. This grim statistic adds yet another doleful data point to what is already the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Fortunately, approximately 500,000 doses of Moderna vaccines arrived in Haiti a few days ago, making it no longer the only country in the Americas without any. But vaccine hesitancy, to say nothing of the recent violence and political unrest, could delay distribution for weeks.

The vaccines, which will be stored in hundreds of solar-power refrigerators throughout Haiti, were donated by the U.S. government through COVAX and delivered to Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital. While this is a good start to making COVID-19 vaccination available to Haitians, we hope this first donation of doses will be followed by others. More donations will be needed for Haiti to reach those most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, especially in today's volatile political and social climate in Haiti.

There are many challenges in Haiti currently, like the economy, food instability, gas shortages, political unrest, gang violence, and COVID-19. The loss of the president brings forth great uncertainty. As we fight against COVID-19 in Haiti, 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 the difficult time that Haiti has experienced the last two years. Our work would not be possible without your generosity! The reality is that we're fighting a losing battle without a vaccine distribution plan, more doses coming to Haiti, and a shortage of personal protective equipment for our medical professionals. Please continue to share our campaign and spread the word about C2C! 

Thank you again for your help and support!!! 

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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!

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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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All patients are instructed to wear masks.
All patients are instructed to wear masks.

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!

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Organization Information

Care 2 Communities

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @C_2_C
Project Leader:
Samuel Bernard
Cap-Haitien, Haiti
$2,467 raised of $5,000 goal
 
35 donations
$2,533 to go
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