Wednesday, 15 April 2020

What's going on in Haiti?

We have been trying to stay in touch with friends in Haiti as much as we can so we can see how things are.

As of today there have been 40 confirmed case of coronavirus and 3 deaths with the majority of these cases being in Port au Prince. I know it doesn't sound like a lot at all when we compare to how things are in other parts of the world but only 439 tests have been done out of a population of 11 million people.  It is highly likely the cases are much higher than will ever be reported.

The big concern for Haiti is that there are more than likely no hospitals prepared for this pandemic if things were to get much worse. It is estimated there are less than 50 ventilators in the whole country and some of these probably do not work.

Government advice is to stay home, wash your hands, if you need to go out stay 2m away from other people.  Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited and like many of us schools, universities and churches are all closed.  Haiti's president has said these measures we will be in place until the end of June.

But, it is almost impossible to social distance, to bulk buy, to stay home when the only way you can survive is to buy the little food you need for each day, everyday.

It is impossible to wash you hands every time you touch something or someone when you don't have running water at home or maybe even can't afford to have everyone in your house to be using up the soap so quickly.

Needless to say the damage coronavirus could do to an already very damaged Haiti doesn't bear thinking about.

Here are the measures Bethesda has put in place to protect our staff and patients and try to stop the spread of the virus.

  • A hand washing station has been set up at the gate
  • A triage unit has been set up at the gate
  • A barrier has been put in place and the physio room will be used as a isolation room.
  • Markers have been put on the ground to ensure social distancing 
  • Extra chairs have been set out for social distancing 
  • Staff devotions have been split into 4 groups
  • Patient devotions have been split into groups
  • Extra cleaning materials have been bought
  • Dr Rodney is  looking for PPE for our staff
  • All patients are educated on a daily basis as to how they have protect themselves

Today we are having our monthly day of prayer where we are encouraging anyone who wants to join us in praying for Haiti and for Bethesda to sign up for a 30 minute slot so we can have the whole day covered in prayer.  We still have a few slots left and if are able to commit to praying please click here and sign your name up.

You can also download our April prayer guide  which will give you some guidance on what to pray for.  

Emmaus has obviously been closed since the first two cases were announced as Haiti closed all its schools and universities. Emmaus administration has been meeting regularly to discuss how to move forward.  With most, if not all of our students having no electricity or internet at home it is impossible to use zoom for online classes.  There are just 5 weeks left of the semester and the administration would love to be able to have those completed before the new semester is supposed to start at the end of August.  Please pray for wisdom for the administration, pray for protection for our students and staff who are in Haiti.  

There are also lots or rumours going round about coronavirus, some people believe it doesn't even exist and the government has made it up to try to get money.  Other rumours include if you drink bleach water  or take choloroquine (a malaria medicine) you will be protected from the virus. 

Some in Haiti are preparing as best as they can, some are waiting and some are carrying on life as normal because they feel they have no other choice. 

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