Category Archives: Uncategorized

C2C is Hiring!

C2C is growing and we seek to hire a Director of Operations who will be responsible for all aspects of C2C’s service delivery model by managing the daily clinical operations that drive health impact. This role sets the standards for operational excellence at every level and then ensures that those high standards are met. The Director of Operations has primary responsibility for both people and process management related to core service delivery. Furthermore, the Director of Operations ensures the development of long-term operational strategies, setting strategic goals, always looking for innovative ways to improve our services and model. The Director of Operations collaborates closely with a local team of managers to set, meet, and exceed C2C’s promise of exceptional health service delivery.

You can access the position description in full here.

Please note:
The position will be based in the Northern Department in Haiti and requires frequent travel to clinic sites which are mostly located in rural areas.

How to Apply:
Please email your CV and cover letter, along with the name and contact details of three references to jobs@care2communities.org by Friday, February 19th.

This entry was posted on by Joyce Bassil Zerka.

New Beginnings: Introducing C2C’s new Managing Director in Haiti!

Dear friends,

It is truly my pleasure to wish you a happy and healthy start to the New Year. 2020 was such a difficult year for everyone and I want you all to know how much we appreciate the inspiring and vital support that our stakeholder community provided as we navigated challenging circumstances for C2C’s healthcare operations in Haiti and — crucially — for our patients.

2020 was one for the history books. It was a year that demanded adaptation, innovation, and resolve. In Haiti, as everywhere else, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a looming health threat for a nation with very little adequate healthcare infrastructure. Haiti also faced fallout from widespread economic and political instability. The impact of the global economic slowdown and interruptions in trade have been devastating for an island country that depends heavily on imports. Many necessities are scarce and livelihoods are increasingly threatened.

Still, the 95+ staff members of C2C worked hard to meet the challenges of the moment and we are so proud of all that we have accomplished together this past year: serving over 50,000 families with essential primary care, ensuring that our specialty care for women and children continued uninterrupted, and strengthening our partnership with the Haitian government.

We are kicking off the New Year with some exciting and hopeful news. I am honored to introduce Racha Yehia, who will be leading C2C into the future as our new Managing Director! Racha, a leader of unique talent and vision, exemplifies the values that are at the core of our shared efforts together: a deep commitment to expanding health access for families; a sophisticated view on how we work to ensure that our services are sustainable and impactful in the future; and a creative and tenacious spirit that keeps us all focused on what is possible. Based in Cap Haitien, Racha will lead our talented and dedicated team as we grow the organization toward deeper and broader impact.

We look forward to a bright and hopeful 2021 and offer our gratitude for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Allison Howard-Berry
Board Chair

Meet Racha, C2C’s Managing Director in Haiti

This entry was posted on by Allison Howard-Berry.

An Update on COVID-19 in Haiti

As the second wave of COVID-19 cases surges in the U.S. and other countries brace themselves for an increase in cases this winter, we are seeing and hearing better news in Haiti. Haiti’s latest totals reveal less than 10,000 cases and 300 deaths in all. 

Due to its very poor health infrastructure, we were expecting much higher numbers since our neighboring country, the Dominican Republic (DR), was reporting a high case count and now has 139,000 cases and 2,300 deaths. 

When the first case was reported in Haiti on March 19, there was a lot of stigma associated with COVID-19. People burned down health centers because they didn’t want this virus in their area or were physically violent to Haitians showing symptoms of the virus. This kind of attitude, caused by fear and misinformation about COVID-19, made mitigation and control of the spread difficult in Haiti. Many people hid their symptoms, afraid of being targeted or isolated by their communities. At C2C, we focused on educating our patients and communities as part of our COVID-19 mitigation protocol. We showed informational videos in our waiting rooms, our nurses informed patients about COVID-19 symptoms and best practices upon arrival to our clinics, and our community health team traveled to remote areas to educate communities about how to reduce the spread of the virus.

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have put in place a protocol that outlines the steps to take when we have a patient showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We also worked closely with the Ministry of Health and scheduled testing for a patient whenever we encountered a suspected case. Although we were unsure how the pandemic would affect Haiti, we made every effort to keep all of our clinics open. We required (and still do) that all patients wear a mask at all times upon entering and while inside our clinics. We designated a quarantine site at each of our clinics where patients would be isolated if they showed signs or symptoms of COVID-19. We put a handwashing station at the entrance of all our clinics so that every patient coming in or leaving our clinics can wash their hands. We took the temperature of every person that entered the clinic. We also ensured that our staff is equipped with personal protection equipment (PPE), even though it costs three times the price to buy PPE and hand sanitizers in the country. Although we have not seen many COVID-19 cases at our clinics, the virus has affected our work significantly. Our patient volume greatly declined during the first few months of the pandemic and has started to slowly increase since September. 

Patients are required to wear masks in all C2C clinics

There are many theories as to why Haiti was not hit as hard as expected during the pandemic in comparison to other countries. For one, medical experts agree that half of the population is made up of young people who typically only develop mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Some believe that the tropical Caribbean climate of Haiti played a factor in reducing the cases, as well as casualties. But most importantly, since the beginning of the pandemic, Haiti was issued a Level 4 travel advisory warning, its border with the DR has been closed, and all flights were halted which reduced the number of people entering the country and likely reducing the number of reported cases.

At C2C, we remain cautiously optimistic. Second waves in Europe and the U.S. have presented a stark reminder of just how important it is to continue to take this pandemic seriously. While it’s been admittedly difficult to adjust to this “new normal,” we cannot let our guard down and must continue to adhere to virus mitigation best practices. We continue to do our best to ensure that our clinics, staff, and the communities we serve are protected and supported.

This entry was posted on by Amanda Fata.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with C2C!

This has undoubtedly been a difficult year for people everywhere, and Haiti is no different. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haiti has experienced widespread political unrest, persistent inflation, continued depreciation of its currency, fuel shortages, and a rise in unemployment. High rates of serious malnutrition, low access to basic sanitation, and weak health systems are a dangerous combination in Haiti.

We are doing everything possible to sustain our daily operations in Haiti and provide critical health services to our communities. Now, more than ever, our community needs us. And we need you.

From now through GivingTuesday and until the end of the year, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on vulnerable communities in Haiti by giving a gift from our 2020 Holiday Catalog. Here are some examples of the life-saving gifts you can choose from:

  • $10 supports sexual and reproductive health education for young women
  • $50 provides free first aid services at one C2C clinic
  • $100 purchases necessary lab equipment

This holiday season, help us share the gift of health and hope. Your generosity is needed now more than ever!

This entry was posted on by Amanda Fata.

Strong Primary Health Care:

The Foundation to COVID-19 Recovery and Building Healthy Communities


Two years ago, world leaders met at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan, and marked their commitment to strengthen primary health care (PHC) as the cornerstone of resilient health systems and the most effective pathway toward health for all.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has made acting on those commitments more urgent than ever. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, this pandemic is officially “the most disruptive event for health systems across the world in a century. It has forced health systems to tackle a new infectious disease, protect health workers and patients, and figure out how to still deliver essential health services.” It has had a dramatic effect on people’s lives globally and has preyed on the most vulnerable among us.

The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative advocates that high-quality primary health care, guided by evidence and data, can be a robust first line of defense against disease outbreaks while maintaining essential health services in times of crisis and in calm.”

Combatting COVID-19 and future health crises depends on high-quality PHC as the first line of defense against outbreaks. Worldwide, we must place stronger PHC at the center of COVID-19 recovery plans and long-term approaches to health security, and urgently recommit to building a foundation of strong PHC systems to become resilient against future disease threats and ensure that health care is accessible for all.

C2C’s mission to bring high-quality PHC in rural Haiti is at the front line of this mobilization. Our founding vision hinged on the fact that primary care is consistently neglected, while it should be the core of a national health care system.  In an under-resourced country like Haiti, we have always been working to address the most cost-effective opportunity in improving health outcomes. The answer has always been: access to quality PHC.

There are many lessons learned from this pandemic that we must apply as we emerge from this global challenge. The principle lesson is to prioritize and invest in health systems to build healthy and resilient communities. Strong PHC systems can help to diagnose, track and stop the spread of local outbreaks while providing essential lifesaving health services.

This entry was posted on by Joyce Bassil Zerka.

Solar Fridges at C2C Clinics Make Vaccines More Accessible

While the global COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, it has also been a stark reminder of just how important vaccines are. Preventative medicine, like vaccines, is critical for healthy communities, but often we take these life-saving innovations for granted. 

Ensuring that routine vaccination is maintained or reinitiated during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations, and further strain the healthcare system.

Typically, in the US and other developed countries, vaccines are easy to access and often even required; however, in places like Haiti, getting vaccinated is not a simple task. 

In Covid times, it is especially important for children’s health to be safeguarded by adhering to the recommended vaccination schedule 


In Haiti, even if there is an adequate supply of vaccines, logistics can often present major obstacles to distribution, especially refrigeration options for transporting and storing the vaccines (known as cold chain). The ideal temperature for vaccine storage is between 35°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C) at all times. A 2018 article from New York Magazine further highlights this issue: “long distances, poor roads, hot weather, and unreliable electricity […] make deployment even more difficult.” Indeed, getting vaccines where they need to be is extremely challenging in a country with a high disease burden, and with 50 children dying per day due to vaccine-preventable illness, this has had severe consequences.

Exacerbating the issue is the fuel required to transport vaccines. In 2019, Haiti faced waves of political unrest and violence due to a countrywide fuel shortage. The crisis, sparked by low fuel supply, low cash reserves, and high debt, affected nearly every person across the country. Road blockades and demonstrations made travel dangerous if not impossible; even many schools and hospitals were forced to close for weeks at a time.

A nurse retrieves a vaccine from a solar fridge at our Bayeux clinic

Luckily, with sunshine 90 percent of the time, Haiti is ripe for solar energy. The Ministry of Health is committed to increasing vaccination rates and is working on installing solar refrigerators in all public clinics. C2C currently has solar panel fridges at our clinics in Sinek, Bayeux, Savanette, and Roche Plate. Through a partnership with a solar company in Port-au-Prince (contracted by UNICEF), we will be installing a new solar-powered fridge at our Cap-Haitien clinic this month. Before we had solar energy, our fridges ran on propane tanks 24/7 and we needed to make sure that we kept a reserve tank in case one ran out. This was both costly and inefficient. Our new solar fridges are more cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and easier for staff to use and maintain. This option is also more reliable than fuel, especially due to the increase in insecurity and lack of propane at certain times of the year. With solar fridges, C2C is able to provide life-saving routine vaccinations to children and families under our one-stop-shop model regardless of the state of Haiti’s fuel supply, infrastructure, or political climate. 

This entry was posted on by Amanda Fata.

Introducing Sexual & Reproductive Health Education as an After-School Program


C2C is celebrating World Sexual Health Month by introducing our newest initiative: a sexual and reproductive health education program targeting young women in Haiti who are vulnerable to adolescent pregnancy and subsequent poverty. This after-school course will cover a variety of sexual health topics and address myths about sexuality and gender that are prevalent in Haiti, giving girls the tools they need to prevent early, unwanted pregnancies and STIs and to feel empowered in their bodies and their relationships with others. 

Before we begin to implement this program, we first need to assess the needs, thoughts, and opinions of the different communities in which we work. Sex education is not commonly offered in Haiti, especially not in classrooms and definitely not in rural areas. Our approach to combine a participatory approach with the view to community ownership is community capacity building, which is an essential approach for health promotion. We interviewed key community leaders, pastors, priests, school directors, and teachers, as well as parents of adolescent girls. We also consulted with some of our staff members who have been working in these communities for a long time. We asked them questions about problems young girls face in their communities, the consequences of the lack of sex education, and about their fears or objections to the implementation of this program. 

We learned a lot from our interviews that helped inform our curriculum make-up. Young girls today face multiples challenges and all groups we interviewed believe that they could greatly benefit from having better access to sex education classes. Not only is this topic not discussed in classrooms, it is also avoided at home. Many parents are afraid that talking about such subjects will actually motivate their children to engage in sexual behaviors, but this has been disproven according to a position paper published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Parents often aren’t sure how to approach their children to discuss subjects related to sex and sexual health and they typically don’t have the facts to guide the conversation. Since most mothers in Haiti typically have kids at a young age, they don’t have much information about the menstrual cycle or family planning, creating many misconceptions and myths for young girls. Adolescents of all genders face a great deal of economic insecurity. Young people and their families often do not have any type of revenue-generating activity. Girls in particular are at risk and when they get pregnant at a young age, it often means never going back to school and facing issues specifically related to their gender such as power imbalances in relationships, violence, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and rape.

Overall, the community’s response to our proposed sex education program was very positive. They all welcomed and understood the importance of this program. The issues that were raised during our discussions highlighted the fact that we need to remain collaborative with parents and community members as we implement it in the communities we serve. This way, we can reduce and resolve the fears and misconceptions about talking to adolescents about sex and sexuality. 

As we prepare to launch this program, we are also working on building the curriculum for the classes. As part of the curriculum, we are including a handbook with many visual components for each young girl to write in, bring home, and keep at the end of the course. As a next step, we will be hiring and training staff members to administer the program in time to recruit young girls to start the first pilot of the class in January 2021. We are looking forward to continuing to update you about the progress of this new and exciting program!

This entry was posted on by Catherine Guillou-Ouellette.

Malnutrition and COVID-19: Food insecurity is on the rise in Haiti

Dear Friends of C2C,

Global hunger has increased over the past five years, and because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, an additional 83 to 132 million people around the world are expected to plunge deeper into food insecurity by the end of the year. 

Food insecurity has grown worse in Haiti in the past year due to many factors, some of which include the closure of the border with the Dominican Republic, persistent inflation, the continued depreciation of the local currency, a rise in unemployment, and the effects of COVID-19.

Here at C2C, we currently operate a malnutrition program at our Acul du Nord clinic site. The program started four years ago to treat moderate and severe malnutrition in children between 6 months of age to 5 years old. Since its launch, we have treated over 350 children. However, with the magnitude of difficulties that are on the rise in Haiti, there is a higher prevalence of malnutrition in rural areas.

All across our clinics, we are seeing more and more malnourished children. The population that is most vulnerable to malnutrition come from lower-income households. These families have a hard time meeting the nutritional needs of their children, in terms of quality and quantity, which causes acute or chronic malnutrition. The majority of the children enrolled in C2C’s malnutrition program come from single mother-led families. Many of the mothers are unemployed and hope for financial support from the fathers. Some work in local markets selling diverse goods in an effort to sustain their families. To make matters worse, due to the devaluation of the local currency (gourde), basic staples such as rice, oil, beans, fruits, and vegetables are rapidly becoming more expensive. Just a year ago, 77 gourdes was equivalent to one US dollar. Now, one US dollar is worth 122 gourdes and is steadily increasing, which negatively impacts families that are getting less for their money. Children are eating fewer portions or being fed less healthy food that happens to be more affordable but without any nutritional value to reach satiety. 

The increase in unemployment in Haiti has also been directly affected by COVID-19. While populations worldwide have suffered a plunge in the global economy, every household has certainly felt the effects of COVID-19 in Haiti, which is already the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The border to the Dominican Republic has been closed since March, reducing trade between the two countries, while the lack of tourism has affected tens of thousands of people. Due to the decrease in demand for services in Haiti, many businesses have been forced to lay off employees which also increases malnutrition cases due to less income generated per capita.

In addition to the increasing insecurity, inflation, and unemployment, many families worry about providing for their own as the government does not provide reliable electricity and the majority of households do not have refrigerators to store food. This means that they cannot buy in bulk and resort to buying food every day, which isn’t always a possibility when COVID-19 safety measures make it difficult to move around.

The World Food Programme estimates that the number of people in severe food insecurity in Haiti could rise from 700,000 to 1.6 million. With hurricane season in the Caribbean from June to November, there is an additional risk for which Haitian families need to prepare.

C2C plans to expand its malnutrition program and services to all of our rural clinics to reduce the burden on the communities that are facing severe food insecurity and are unable to meet their basic food needs, especially for their children.

Stay tuned to hear more updates about the expansion of the malnutrition program, our COVID-19 efforts in our clinics, and more! 

This entry was posted on by Racha Yehia.

Latest COVID-19 Update from Haiti from our Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Samuel Bernard

On March 20th, 2020, Haiti recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus. As of July 29, Haiti has recorded 7,371 official cases and 158 deaths, although because the country has not been doing sufficient testing, the actual figures are likely much higher. Unfortunately, Haiti’s Ministry of Health lacks the resources to adequately respond to the virus. A 2017 report from the World Bank found that the government spends just $13 per capita annually on health services, much lower than neighboring countries such as the Dominican Republic ($180 dollars) and Cuba ($781 dollars) and the Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole, which has a per capita public expenditure of $336 dollars. Of the few funds allocated to the health system, 54% of the government’s expenditure is allocated to curative care (38% to hospitals) with only 19% directed towards preventive care.

Needless to say, the Haitian government was ill-prepared to take on the COVID-19 pandemic. As wealthy, developed countries such as the US have struggled to contain the spread, COVID-19 has also resulted in a health and economic crisis in Haiti. As C2C is the primary partner of the Ministry of Health in the north of Haiti, health officials have relied greatly on our organization to slow the spread of the virus, mainly through community education activities.

“For us, the main way to deal with the pandemic in Haiti is prevention,” says C2C’s Chief Operating Officer Dr. Samuel Bernard. At first, our staff found it challenging to convince people to follow best practices for virus mitigation. “People didn’t want to hear about [the virus] because they didn’t trust that it was real,” reflects Dr. Bernard. “Asking patients to wear masks, washing their hands before entering our clinics was a fight. But, by providing education many times a day in the clinics [and the communities], our patients finally understood that they should follow the protocol to avoid being infected.”

We are collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health on education activities, keeping people updated on the state of the epidemic in Haiti and how they can protect themselves and their families. Although the government has not been able to provide much support for these activities, C2C is grateful to our generous supporters for allowing us to continue our COVID-19 response.

At the onset of COVID-19 in Haiti, C2C set critical overarching goals, objectives, and activities for our clinic network and have continued to adjust our plans and priorities as the crisis continues to evolve.

Goals:

  1. Mitigate the spread of the coronavirus infection in our region of Northern Haiti
  2. Treat any patient suspected of having coronavirus
  3. Educate the communities we serve in virus mitigation best practices

Short-term Objectives:

  1. Prepare and train staff to provide education to our communities on coronavirus
  2. Secure equipment needed to face an epidemic
  3. Enhance the capacity of the clinics to quickly identify any suspected case of coronavirus
  4. Enhance the capacity of the clinics to care for any possible case of coronavirus infection

Sample of Clinical and Community Activities:

  1. Training of staff on COVID-19 and means of prevention: prepare and disseminate training materials about COVID-19 to give to staff; supervising doctor ensures that all clinical staff are trained properly
  2. Provide, improve, and resupply hand washing stations at each clinic and encourage increased handwashing among patients and staff
  3. Radio and TV announcements weekly from C2C medical staff; hire a local “mobile” (a pick-up truck with large speakers in the bed) to drive through communities and broadcast the Haiti Ministry of Health’s taped message on COVID-19 prevention
  4. Clinicians provide up-to-date information on COVID-19 during regular patient consultations; nurses hold education sessions in waiting room of clinics to inform patients how to protect themselves and their families
  5. Increase collaboration with peer organizations and the Ministry of Health to scale communications, education materials, outreach, and training

To learn more about C2C’s COVID-19 response in Haiti, visit our official COVID-19 updates page on our website.

This entry was posted on by Joyce Bassil Zerka.

C2C Earns a “Give with Confidence” 100/100 Rating From Charity Navigator!

Dear Friends,

We’re excited to share some news! C2C has been evaluated by Charity Navigator through their revolutionary Encompass Rating System and received a 100 out of 100 rating!

The Encompass Rating System is a comprehensive evaluation tool that analyzes nonprofit performance based on four key indicators. In July 2020, Charity Navigator released the first indicator, Finance & Accountability, to highlight nonprofit organizations demonstrating fiscal responsibility.

This milestone achievement for C2C couldn’t have happened without you and your support. Thank you for being part of our family as contributors, funders, and fervent advocates. Your trust in us is what makes the difference to us and the communities we serve.

You can find our Charity Navigator Encompass rating here: https://charitynavigator.org/ein/264369180 and learn more about Charity Navigator and the Encompass Rating System at charitynavigator.org/encompass.

Thank you for being an integral part of our mission!

This entry was posted on by Joyce Bassil Zerka.