On 19th March 2020, the first two
cases of Covid-19 infection in Haiti were confirmed. To date, 31th March
2020, 14 infected have been identified. In response, President Haiti declared a
state emergency and ordered the closure of schools, factories and religious institutions,
ordered curfews and banned gatherings. The government has closed the country’s
borders and announced the suspension of air traffic from and to most other
countries. Declaring a state of emergency at national level was a necessary
step, but it must be strengthened by measures for health professionals and
measures to support the poor. This is still waiting.
According to a study from the 2019 consortium
for research and education for acute care in Haiti (REACH), there are only 124
beds adapted for patient isolation and 64 ventilators for a population of over
11 million. This is a serious concern, especially given the relatively high
proportion of the population at increased risk of contracting the disease. The
healthcare system in Haiti is highly dependent on private actors, including
foreign aid and NGOs. Since 2013, 64% of the health budget comes from
international aid. In many parts of the country, only non-state actors provide
access to healthcare.
It is also likely that the long-term crisis
will exacerbate the already fragile food security situation in most countries.
Many children rely on school food programs, which are often funded by
international organizations. International assistance will be key to ensuring
that the government and other actors are able to respond to the incoming
The Archdiocesan Caritas Olomouc continues to
support the poor and needy Haitians. The Child Sponsorship Program is still
running, and even though schools and all public institutions are closed, we
encourage local partners to take care of pupils in the adoptive program and
their community at their discretion. “We try to distribute food to all who come
to our premises. But it’s hard. We do not have any protective equipment, veils
or gloves, to protect ourselves,” says Sr. Margaret, the headmistress of St.
Emmaus School in Gonaives. We have sent some instructions for sewing masks to Haiti
that nurses can easily do on their sewing machines that was brought to Haiti in
the container in 2017. The funds will be used to mitigate the impact of the
food crisis and the necessary medical assistance in this difficult time. We are
in constant contact with our partners in Haiti and support them by word and
action. Stamina, determination and faith in a good end unite us.
More about the current situation in Haiti can be found at OCHA Haiti or Flow monitoring.
Lada Matyášová, Archdiocesan Charity Olomouc
Source: OCHA Haiti, HaitiLibre, reliefweb.int, migration.iom