It has been a very busy time at MFH during the past weeks, as I’m sure it has been for everyone. COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives, and events are taking place daily that were previously unimaginable. Lockdowns, homeschooling, mask procurement…all of these are now a part of our daily lives.
In Haiti, we are bracing for the outbreak to explode. Haiti right now, as of 6 April, has 21 confirmed cases, and 1 death reported. There have been two confirmed cases in Hinche itself, home of our Haitian headquarters. Right now, all cases are being treated at the Zamni Lasante/Partners in Health hospital in Mirebalais. However, as in much of the world, there is a severe lack of testing, and coordination efforts have not been robust. The healthcare system is Haiti is very fragile, a result of hundreds of years of colonialism and a weak infrastructure that has never had the chance to take root.
Our response at MFH was swift. We have procured N95 respirator masks for all of our staff to use at this time. When these run out, we have a plan in place to buy fabric masks from Haitian vendors in Hinche.
Haiti has a strong textile industry, and Jaqueline Charles of the Miami Herald writes,
“In a bid to try to keep its textile industry afloat amid the coronavirus economic shutdown, the Haitian government has authorized the reopening of seven factories that will be making protective medical gear. Three of the factories already make washable hospital scrubs for the U.S. market, and Haiti is seeking a percentage of the garments for the country’s own use. The other four factories will switch from sewing cotton T-shirts for the U.S. export market to making face masks for Haitians.”
|The price of foodstuffs and other goods is once again skyrocketing. Estimates from Hinche report a 20- 50 percent increase. A large package of spaghetti used to cost around $3.50 and is now over $10.|
Naturally, our need for support from our international family remains intense. To that end, we are delighted to share that our normal spring campaign is going ahead as planned, beginning May 1. This will encompass International Day of the Midwife, as well as both US and Haitian Mother’s Day; May is also Haitian Heritage Month. Our theme is Stronger Together: Our Passion in Action, and will feature communications from our Haitian team on the ground, sharing their thoughts around their work. We look forward to sharing with you!
We hope you all stay strong and healthy, and that you are finding some peace in these turbulent times.
Midwives for Haiti