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