Health Expertise for the Fight Against COVID-19 in Haiti

News | Published at: June 04 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a major challenge for all countries around the world. However, for the countries of the Global South where resources are limited, the fight against the coronavirus takes on a whole new dimension.

In Haiti, in order to avoid the epidemic causing a total collapse of the healthcare system, our Project in Support of the Mother-Child Continuum (ACOSME) is currently putting its health expertise and special resources at the disposal of institutions and communities, all the while keeping with its initial mission of promoting quality health care for women and children.

Multiple Forms of Support for the Northern Health Department

“Last March, the Northern Health Department asked its technical and financial partners for support with the different stages of the COVID-19 response. ACOSME was one of the first to answer this call and its support was of paramount importance,” said Doctor Ernst Robert Jasmin, Department Director of the Northern Region.

ACOSME quickly took action to meet the needs for awareness building, prevention, logistical support, epidemiological monitoring and testing, all in order to better combat COVID-19. Concretely:

  • Specific training modules for the fight against coronavirus were created and offered to healthcare providers at the institutional and community levels.
  • Awareness and prevention campaigns have been implemented to encourage the population to respect physical distancing and applying proper hygiene measures, in particular in collaboration with the Women’s Voice and Leadership project, implemented in Haiti by CECI.
  • Dedicated handwashing stations were installed in several institutions, and personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks, face shields and gloves were distributed.
  • The finishing touches and final preparations have been accelerated in two of the three health centres, built as part of the project, to facilitate emergency care for people infected with COVID-19.
  • A committee to monitor and control the spread of COVID-19 has been set up to quickly detect and manage positive cases. This was all possible largely thanks to the project, which offered its logistical resources (facilities, IT equipment, vehicle, protective equipment) to carry out investigative activities and testing of suspected cases.

“This support allows us to maintain our presence alongside health personnel in all of our 95 healthcare facilities in the Northern Region, not only to raise awareness of the pandemic, but also, and above all, to urge them to ensure the continuity of healthcare and the production of sanitary information in the region,” said Dr. Carol Antoine, Head of the Epidemiology and Statistics Service of the Northern Health Department.

Support for a Community Initiative: The “tippy tap”

The tippy tap is a homemade device that allows for simple and effective hand washing without the need for running water. The tippy tap is made using local materials (three wooden posts) and recycled materials (a plastic bottle).

“The tippy tap, our homemade tap, is prompting us to wash our hands often. It’s very interesting, because you just have to pedal and the water instantly starts to flow,” explains a woman member of the Committees of Women Users.

Women, the main caregivers in Haitian society, quickly acquired the skills necessary to build this system. They then tested it and reproduced it in different places, sometimes with the help of their children, who were also very enthusiastic about building these devices.

The tippy tap is very popular, especially by members of remote communities where access to running water is nonexistent. This cost-free solution allows for those most vulnerable to follow the sanitary precautions required to fight the spread of COVID-19.

ACOSME encourages the Committees of Women Users to continue their initiative and to accompany and motivate other people in their communities to build these homemade taps and use them to wash their hands regularly, even when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

Donate today to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund and support the efforts of our partners across the world.

ACOSME supports the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) through the Northern Health Department (DSN), carried out by a consortium composed of the Unité de santé internationale (USI) of the Université de Montréal (UDM) and CECI. The project aims to contribute to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in Haiti’s Nord Department by responding to the needs and rights of mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under 5 years-old. The project receives financial support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).