Haiti reported its first Coronavirus death amidst continued nationwide panic.
Reports of doctors and nurses fleeing their posts at public and private health facilities leave Haiti’s health infrastructure even weaker and the population with no plan to confront the pandemic. With no supplies and equipment to protect themselves and no confidence in support from the Ministry of Public Health, health care staff are fearful of contracting the virus.
Even private hospitals, like the French Hospital of Haiti, are shutting down because they realize they do not have the means to “confront the reality that exists.” Read the full article here
“In two to three weeks, the health care system in Haiti will be brought to its knees.” -Dr. Franck Généus, head of Haiti’s association of private hospitals
In a country of 11 million, Haiti has only tested 218 individuals for the virus, with now 21 confirmed cases and 1 reported death. In comparison, the Dominican Republic, a country of about the same population size, has tested over 4,000 individuals and reported 1,488 positive cases and 68 deaths. Experts feel that Haiti’s low reported numbers are due to the lack of testing and the extremely weak health system, including reporting capability.
Since the virus appeared in Haiti, the government has announced stringent measures to contain it, but those measures have not been rigorously followed or enforced. In a country where most of the population relies on the informal economy in order to survive, stay-at-home and social-distancing orders are difficult to apply.
Last week ESPWA social workers conducted distributions of handwashing stations, food, and crisis supplies to families within the Family Preservation Program. These include families of children who have been recently reunified with their families.
Handwashing stations and health training to families and communities are critical to ensure they have accurate information about the virus and what they can do to protect themselves with the resources available to them.
ESPWA is also partnering with Overture International in various prevention efforts.
Food distribution for desperate school in rural community
Last week ESPWA assisted with a food distribution at a school in the rural community of Dory, where 124 students were receiving a hot meal during the school day from Overture International. With the government closure of schools and the consequential suspension of hot meals, students found themselves in desperate need of food assistance.
ESPWA staff accompanied by Overture Social Workers distributed 36 meals to each of the 124 students and conducted health training for the community. READ MORE
Mobile health training
Mr. Jocelyn Nelson, Project Manager for Overture International, called on young adults in the Youth Empowerment Program to help deliver important health information to vulnerable communities. Using a sound system hooked up to a truck, they drove around to communities where regular access to updated news is limited, giving information on the Coronavirus and how to seek help as they passed through the communities.
Knowledge is power.
By giving families and communities accurate information on the virus, we are equipping them to protect their children. With our partnership with Overture International, our impact is expanded and we can reach even more families and communities.
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