Koronavirus na Haiti – ilustracni foto

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 pandemic.

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