Until recently Haiti seemed to be fortunate regarding COVID-19, with reported numbers barely registering on the global radar screen. We are now however beginning to see the kind of spike in cases we have long feared.
While the daily new cases reported count is now in the hundreds, we know (and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms) that the true case count is far higher due to logistical challenges and continued shortages in testing kits. With cases now spiking, the next likely crisis will be severe with illnesses flooding a healthcare system that is significantly under-resourced. The WHO warns that the combination of COVID-19 shutdown-induced economic shock and patients over-burdening the health system could trigger a terrible humanitarian catastrophe in a nation where half the population (six million people) lives below the extreme poverty line of $2/day.
At C2C, we began urgent preparations for the onset of COVID-19 in mid-March and we have been improving and reinforcing our capabilities constantly since then. At all of our clinics we have:
- Dedicated isolation areas where patients suspected of COVID-19 can wait to be screened.
- Equipped all employees with N-95, surgical and reusable marks, as well as face protectors.
- Ensured all clinic staff wear gloves and added hand sanitizers for staff and patient use.
- Added temperature screening and hand-washing stations for all patients upon entry
- Implemented daily morning COVID-19 educational talks with patients providing detail on symptom awareness, hygiene best practices, and the importance of wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing whenever possible
COVID-19 in our clinics:
We have now seen COVID directly impact our staff. A cluster in one of our clinics yielded 6 positive tests but thankfully none had severe illness (3 were asymptomatic and 3 experienced only mild symptoms). We are glad to report they are now back to work serving our patient communities.
Starting in April, we began to see a drop in patient volume as patients began to fear seeking care due to the perceived higher risk of COVID in clinics. This is a phenomenon that has occurred worldwide but is a concern because it means our regular patients are deferring critical care.
Unfortunately, this crisis in Haiti is far closer to the “end of the beginning” than the “beginning of the end”. We will continue to keep you apprised of our efforts to take on this monumental challenge in the communities we serve. Thank you so much for supporting our work, none of these efforts would be possible without our incredibly generous supporters and partners.
Thank you, again, from all of us!