Haiti, often considered the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, recorded its first cases of COVID-19 on March 19. As of April 16, there have been 41 confirmed cases within the country’s borders. While compared to many other countries around the globe this might not seem like a lot, we have all seen how COVID-19 is able to drastically spread among communities.
Besides the community spread, Haiti also faces its own unique challenges in dealing with COVID-19: they do not have the medical infrastructure, or medical staff, to respond to an outbreak. Currently, doctors have been refusing to treat cases of respiratory infection because they are not able to protect themselves.
Across Haiti, authorities have implemented isolation measures to slow the spread of the virus. In an attempt to keep people at home, they have closed schools, churches, and voodoo temples, installed night curfews, and banned gatherings of more than 10 people. Unfortunately, even with these precautions, people are not able to understand the risks and dangers of the virus.
Surge is actively working with long-term partner Saint-Luc d’Haiti Association (ASSLHA), a grassroots organization led by Dr. Pierre Erol Rene in the small, rural community of Cayes-Jacmel. With 36,693 residents, it’s important that educational messages about COVID-19, as well as precautionary steps, are taken to ensure that this community stays safe. For the next month, in partnership with Surge, our teams will launch an intense campaign with 17 Hygiene Promoters. This includes our existing team of 4 Ambassadors and 12 Hygiene Promoters recruited and trained especially for this response. The team will educate the community on how the virus is contracted, the severity of symptoms, and how to avoid it. We plan to reach 1,500 families (7,500 people) directly and 15,000 people indirectly!
We know that education is only one part of a holistic prevention effort, so liquid soap will be produced by ASSLHA and tippy-taps will be constructed to promote proper hand-washing. To take it one step further, we will conduct training seminars so people can learn how to make these items themselves, giving them the power to take ownership in their own fight against COVID-19.
We’re not safe until everyone is safe. As COVID-19 continues to spread, we will continue to work with our local partners to protect the communities we serve.
Note: Surge would like to thank donors and friends of Surge for helping us spread awareness and raise funds to strengthen our existing programs to better address COVID-19 prevention today and sustain health in our communities into the future. If you’re able to help some of the most vulnerable in our global community, please visit: surgeforwater.org/covid-19