HUFH Newsletter Summer 2020
 
 Keeping Ahead of the Curve:
Tackling Covid-19 in Haiti


 Our Mission:
Hands Up for Haiti delivers lifesaving health care to the sickest and most impoverished people of northern Haiti. 

In early March, as the world was just beginning to understand the severity of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, Hands Up for Haiti (HUFH) brought a small team to Haiti, led by co-founder Dr. Jill Ratner, on what was to be our final mission for the foreseeable future.  This was a planned education and training mission that was rapidly adjusted to assist our in-country staff with preparations for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 on Haiti’s shores.  The team brought materials about coronavirus, and reviewed CDC and WHO guidelines with our Haitian medical staff.

That visit set the stage for how our in-country leadership, partnering with our team in the United States and Canada, would not only respond to the impending pandemic in Haiti, but also to the collateral damage of increasing food insecurity and malnutrition, and lack of access to hospitals, clinics and medical care.

As of this past week, Haiti has over 3300 cases of documented COVID-19 and has had 50 deaths. But due to limited testing, the death toll may be much higher as we are learning about an increase in unexplained and sudden deaths in the communities that we serve in the North. 

HUFH's team of medical and lay volunteers in the US and Canada is working together with our Haitian team and our partners to intensify our efforts to provide life-saving care. These efforts are more important than ever, given the ability of COVID to overwhelm Haiti’s already extremely limited medical resources. As our vision statement attests, having a “Haitian run, Haitian led” organization allows HUFH to continue our vital work despite limitations on travel, fosters a motivational sense of autonomy and creative problem solving in our Haitian staff, and helps build a better future.

This is an update about how our organization has responded:
 
Getting ahead of the virus:
 
Within two weeks of our visiting team’s departure, Haiti reported its first cases of COVID-19 and the country was essentially placed on lock down, with flights cancelled and borders closed. As a relatively small organization, networking was crucial. To get ahead of the crisis, Dr. Rose-Laure Jeanty, our Medical Director in Haiti, began meeting with the Ministry of Health, while our in country Executive Director, Thermitus Jean, met with the leadership of other local organizations and NGOs, coordinated by the Haiti Health Network (HHN). Our Haitian leadership team also met with the directors of the local hospitals to discuss strategies for dealing with sick patients and how to obtain personal protective equipment for our staff.
   
 
Information Spread:
 
People in Haiti are frightened, and a great deal of misinformation is being circulated. To help combat this problem, Dr. Jeanty wrote a simple educational message to be used by our community health workers (TSKs) to educate people in the four communities and multiple villages that we serve. The message focuses on how to stay safe and includes a basic description of the virus, how it spreads, and the importance of social distancing and washing hands. Determined to spread the word, our amazing team on the ground partnered with a local musician, Antoine Kenel, to produce a music video informing the public about dealing with COVID. The video has gone viral on social media in Haiti and can be seen by clicking here.
 
 
Keeping Our Critical Programs Running:
 
A major goal of ours is to keep our critical programs running in spite of the pandemic. We quickly created a new set of protocols that incorporated social distancing to protect both our staff and community members while we continue to deliver essential care, focusing on our Malnutrition, Prenatal and Hypertension programs, all of which continue to operate and even grow to meet increased demand. Prenatal vitamins, hypertension medications, and nutritional RUTF for our childhood malnutrition program are dispensed in larger quantities, but less frequently. Community health workers still check in with families, going door to door, and reinforce the wearing of masks, social distancing and hand washing.
 
 
 
Delivering Care During the Pandemic: Trust Overcomes Fear and a Little Girl’s Life is Saved:
 
As people are unable to travel and are fearful of being exposed to COVID, they often stay home and do not get the lifesaving care they need to combat other illnesses. One mother, however, bravely sought care from our staff  when her 18 month old baby girl, Nacius Djoulie, became very ill. HUFH had successfully treated her toddler for severe malnutrition, and now she was very sick with fever and a rash. Her mother brought the child back, because she trusted Hands Up for Haiti, where Nacius had received such good care. Once again HUFH came to her aide. Recognizing how seriously ill the toddler was, our staff immediately activated our emergency hospitalization fund for children, and referred her to HCBH, one of our partner hospitals, where she was admitted for life saving antibiotics. Nacius remained in the hospital for one week, and will continue to receive follow-up care, supported by HUFH's emergency hospitalization fund for children. Read more about the Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund here.
 
The ability to navigate medical care in Haiti is always a challenge. In the midst of COVID-19, when transportation and movement is limited, the challenges are even more difficult. This mother was able to get quality care for her child through the efforts of Hands Up for Haiti. Her mother trusted HUFH, and this trust overcame fear and saved her little girl’s life.
 
Making Hand Hygiene Possible:
 
Our Clean Water and Wells Program also continued with greater emphasis placed on hygiene. In the communities that we serve, running water and sanitation infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. To work within this reality, our staff constructed “tippy-taps” - hands-free hand washing stations - close to our water wells. Securing plastic gallon jugs and soap, they have installed more than 50 of these in a short time and continue to build more.
 
 
Our Vision:
Haitian Run + Haitian Led = Lifesaving Programs that Build a Better Future.
 

How We Do It:
"Sante Kominotè" - Community Based Health Care delivered by hands on the ground, in collaboration with helping hands from the north.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NO CHILD SHOULD DIE FROM HUNGER Campaign
THIS IS HUGE!!!
3x matching gift
 
We are nearly 3/4 of the way to our goal!

It's a 3X Match, and YOU are the key to the match. 
 
For every child that YOU help lift out of hunger, 2 more will be saved.
 
The SG Foundation, together with an anonymous donor, is helping HUFH's NO CHILD SHOULD DIE FROM HUNGER Campaign: they are each matching - dollar for dollar - all donations up to $15,000, for a 3X match.
 
To date, our triple match has saved 345 children.
 
YOUR generosity has inspired our donors to extend the deadline for the match until June 21.

It only costs $96 to treat a starving child.
 
 

Meet Wisnaïlie, one of the children who donors like you have saved. Watch her story here:
                           
 
 For every child like Wisnaïlie who you help lift out of hunger, 2 more will be saved.
 
To leave a living legacy, take action and
 


WITH YOUR HELP, THE FUTURE IS THEIRS.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
Support Hands Up for Haiti While You Shop!
 
You probably already use Amazon for your online shopping. Use Amazon Smile instead and Amazon will make a donation to Hands Up For Haiti every time you shop!
 
Learn how it works here. Using this link, you can choose to support Hands Up For Haiti when you shop with the Amazon Smile program; just enter the name of Hands Up For Haiti as your charity of choice. 
 
It's that simple!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks to the Support of our Board of Directors, Donor Funds Go Directly to Program Support
 
Thank you to our Board of Directors, whose members underwrite our administrative expenses. Because of their generosity, commitment and vision, at every cent of every dollar donated by you goes directly to helping dhildren, mothers and families through our medical programs.
 
 
 
HEAL   TEACH   SUPPORT
 Our Mission:
Hands Up For Haiti delivers lifesaving health care to the sickest and most impoverished people of northern Haiti.
Our Vision:
Haitian Run + Haitian Led = Lifesaving Programs that Build a Better Future. 
How We Do It:
"Sante Kominotè” - Community Based Health Care delivered by hands on the ground in collaboration with helping hands from neighbors to the north.
 
 
 

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Address postal inquiries to:
Hands Up for Haiti
PO Box 913
Mount Kisco, NY 10549