As a coronavirus hit other American countries It has been difficult for more than a year, with Haiti reporting relatively few deaths, allowing the country to close COVID-19 treatment centers due to a shortage of patients.
But now that some of the richest countries in the world are moving to the post-epidemic phase due to large-scale vaccination campaigns, Haiti is struggling With its first major outbreak of COVID-19.
The country, which previously hesitated to accept free vaccines through the UN-supported COVAX mechanism due to security and logistics issues, still has to implement a single piece of coronavirus vaccine.
Last week in the capital, Port-au-Prince, one of the two main hospitals treating COVID-19 patients announced that they were full. “We are overwhelmed with patients,” said Mark Edson Augustine, medical director at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Jean an ‘Bill’ Papé, chief infectious disease specialist in Haiti, says the country is not as prepared as it used to be. “We need to reopen new centers to increase the number of special COVID beds,” he said.
Infections and deaths increased more than fivefold last month after new versions emerged, which the Pan-Armenian Health Organization (PAHO) called “a cautionary tale about how quickly things change with this virus.”
The official coronavirus numbers remain relatively low among the population of more than 11 million. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, only 15,895 cases and 333 deaths have been reported since the beginning of last year.
However, the data are limited due to the low level of testing, և Doctors say that the real numbers are much higher.
Recently, prominent figures, including the former senator and head of the country’s pension agency, reportedly died of the coronavirus. The trend could be “catastrophic”, says Laura Adrien, director general of the Haitian Ministry of Health.
Poor sanitation means the disease can spread rapidly in a country where slums are densely packed, and the already overburdened shamrock health system is dependent on volatile donations.
The new wave is also coming amid gang violence, which is hampering the lack of affordable health care.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 10,000 people in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince have fled their homes since the beginning of the year due to gang violence or fires, the origin of which is still unknown.
Many residents of the Martisant district, the site of the latest group clashes, fled last week.
“Will there be an increase in this violence, which will lead to more deportations in the coming weeks or months?” said Bruno Lemarquez, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti. “That is the biggest question.”
St. Luke’s Hospital warned Monday that it may have to close its COVID-19 unit altogether as violence makes it difficult for oxygen to accumulate in the production area of the poor Cite Soleil cabin.
In February, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, in its French acronym) closed all but one of Cite Soleil Hospital, which treated COVID-19 patients last year.
Lack of vaccines
At the same time, Haiti has not yet received a single coronavirus vaccine, although officials say they expect to receive 130,000 doses of AstraZeneca through COVAX this month to help low-income countries around the world get their share of the vaccine.
The United States also said it would donate some six million doses Haiti, although officials did not specify when they would arrive.
Some wealthy Haitians travel to Florida for more than just their vaccines 63 percent At least one shot has been received by US adults so far, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
: The situation is particularly acute in Central America և in the Caribbean. Only 2 million people fully vaccinated in Central America, less than և 3 million in the Caribbean – @DirOPSPAHO: # COVID-19:
– PAHO / WHO (@pahowho) June 9, 2021
“Vaccine inequality is undeniable,” said PAHO Director Carissa Etienne on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the supply of vaccines is concentrated in a few countries, while most of the world is waiting for the dose to be reduced.”
Returning to Haiti, doctors say the challenge will now be to get people vaccinated.
Ronald Jean Nine, 38, a restaurant manager in Port-au-Prince, said he was afraid of the virus for the first time. But he said that before the strike, “the authorities must first get the vaccine on TV, we will see how they do it.
“And then I will decide whether to take it or not.”