| Dec 3, 2021
Response in Haiti: 4 Months Later
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In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Direct Relief worked with its extensive partner network to rapidly respond. By mobilizing pre-positioned emergency medical supplies, disbursing emergency grant funding, and flying in additional medicines and equipment, Direct Relief was able to quickly support partner hospitals in the affected region.
Based on the requests coming in from partners on the ground and from what Direct Relief has learned from responding to other earthquakes and disasters during COVID, it’s immediate and medium-term response was organized around:
- Immediate critical and ICU care support to treat trauma and crush injuries, as well as infections in the first week after the disaster during the emergency phase.
- Targeting maternal and child health support. Pregnant and new mothers and young children are made particularly vulnerable by disasters and even more so with the current lack of infrastructure and services in Haiti.
- Immediate emergency grant funding to key partners. Direct Relief’s experience responding to disasters has shown that key partner hospitals and health facilities have common needs for medicines and medical supplies, but also distinct post-disaster needs based on their specific situation and demand of their facility and for this a quick injection of funding can make a huge difference, whether it is to pay for fuel for a generator, buy food, water, or equipment, or even to pay staff who, more often than not, are affected by the disaster themselves.
- The ongoing COVID crisis forms the backdrop to all healthcare currently and presents a challenge and risk to healthcare workers, as well as to displaced vulnerable communities. The COVID crisis cannot be divorced from the earthquake response so Direct Relief has targeted support for oxygen supplies to treat COVID patients, cold chain equipment to enable the handling of COVID vaccinations, and PPE to protect health workers.
Direct Relief Has Delivered
- More than 113 tons of requested medicines and supplies delivered to 15 recipients – In coordination with Direct Relief’s extensive network, partners have received and distributed these supplies to local clinics, shelters, and hospitals throughout the southern peninsula
- 1 Humanitarian Charter Flight – During the emergency phase of the disaster, Direct Relief, in collaboration with FedEx, supported partners with an air charter containing 165 pallets valued at $8,677,872, which included emergency health kits, 130 emergency backpacks, 45 tents, 633k facemasks,137 oxygen concentrators, and thousands of doses of needed medications
- Collaborated with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on large distribution of supplies – Immediately following the earthquake, PAHO utilized supplies from the DR funded stockpile in Panama in their response. Direct Relief also provided additional shipments in the following weeks.
- 5 ultra-cold portable freezers donated to PAHO – provided to support COVID vaccinations and immunization campaigns across the country.
- 3 ultra-cold portable freezers donated to CORE’s mobile clinics – provided on request from CORE in order to manage cold-chain medications for their mobile clinics administering care in the disaster-affected areas.
- 3 ultra-cold portable freezers donated to St. Boniface Hospital – In addition to being responsible for the Covid-19 vaccine distribution in their own catchment area of Fond-de-Blac, St. Boniface Hospital has been asked to transport vaccines from the central warehouse in Port-au-Prince to the state health departments in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud – the three departments on the peninsula most impacted by the earthquake. These three ultra-cold units will assist with vaccine transportation and storage, which will help improve the vaccination rates in Haiti which are among the lowest in the world.
- Covid-19 monoclonal therapy medications – a large donation of monoclonal medications valued at $2,219,840 will be delivered to Partners in Health and St. Luke’s Hospital.
- Covid-19 testing kits – providing 4,000 testing kits to Partners in Health, St, Luke’s Hospital, and Project Medishare.
- Over 700,000 PPE donated – an assortment of PPE donated to 10 recipients immediately following the earthquake.
- Emergency oxygen – DR funded the procurement and delivery of 18 oxygen concentrators to St. Luke’s Hospital during recent spike in COVID.
Maternal & Child Health Response:
- 2,000 suction bulbs for Clean Birth Kits – purchased and provided to Project Medishare who distributed 2,000 individual Clean Birth Kits. The UNFPA estimates that 22,000 women will be giving birth in the next 3 months in areas without access to any maternal and child health services.
- 89 Midwife Kits – Midwife Kits have been dispatched to St. Boniface Hospital, Project Medishare, Maison de Naissance, Konbit Sante, Cap Haitian Health Network, and Midwives for Haiti. Each kit will provide 50 safe births, 4,450 in total.
- $95,000 granted for health infrastructure support – a long-time partner of Direct Relief, Maison de Naissance’s foundation was severely damaged in the earthquake. This grant will provide one of the largest MCH facilities in the region the resources it needs to rebuild a safe foundation for the facility.
- O2 assessments – Collaborating with Build Health International to assess and develop a sustainable model for medical oxygen distribution in Haiti.
Direct Relief is continuing to support its partner network in the earthquake affected areas and across the country as they try to maintain normal services in the face of spiraling socio-economic, political, and health crises. Direct Relief will continue to organize around the health objectives of general healthcare support, maternal and child health, COVID support, and earthquake healthcare infrastructure rebuilding.
Working closely with its partner network in Haiti since the catastrophic 2010 earthquake has shown Direct Relief that ongoing general healthcare support is vital to bolster the capacity of hospitals and health facilities. Ongoing instability in the country is having a compounding impact that has created a fuel crisis, reduced access to clean drinking water and increased food prices. This means that vulnerable communities such as pregnant and new mothers, young children, and those affected by the earthquake are being made more vulnerable due to possible food insecurity and a lack of access to regular clean water supplies at the same time as hospitals are having to scale down services because they can’t run generators, transfer patients or possibly even transport staff to work.
On top of this, increasing COVID rates in Haiti are putting more pressure on an already fragile health system that is running at a reduced capacity and forcing health facilities to reallocate resources and available funding to pay for disposable items such as PPE to protect staff.
All this underpins the importance of Direct Relief’s ongoing support to partners, for general healthcare, for maternal and child health, and for supporting partners with COVID supplies such as PPE, medical grade oxygen so they can treat hospitalized COVID patients, and cold chain equipment to enable the roll out of COVID vaccines across the country.
Given the current situation in Haiti, the localized earthquake disaster response cannot be divorced from the broader national crisis and, therefore, Direct Relief will continue to simultaneously support the earthquake recovery in the southwest while doing whatever it can to enable healthcare partners to maintain normal health services across the country as they contend with insecurity, a lack of fuel and water, and the ongoing pandemic.
Thank you for being part of DIrect Relief.