As emergency teams respond to the recent earthquake in the southwest, Humanity & Inclusion continues to help Haitians face the Covid-19 pandemic.
Humanity & Inclusion and its local partners— Pain Without Borders, Together For A Better Future In Haiti, National Association Network for the Integration of People with Disabilities and Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation—reached more than 10,000 people as part of its “Tackling Covid-19” project which ran from August 2020 through June 2021. With funding from the Belgian Development Cooperation, Humanity & Inclusion is continuing its Covid-19 response in north and northeast Haiti throughout 2021.
During the 10-month project, hygiene kits containing soap, buckets with taps for hand-washing, hand sanitizer and other items were distributed to 1,400 families. Teams also shared information protection measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
Families also received a $150 cash transfer to spend as needed to afford food, medical care or other necessities.
Through the project, more than 3,500 people received rehabilitation care. Among them, 286 patients participated in respiratory therapy, a form of physical therapy that frees up the respiratory passages, strengthens breathing muscles and improves ventilation to better move oxygen through the body. Humanity & Inclusion and its partners trained 40 rehabilitation professionals in respiratory therapy to treat patients with future respiratory infections.
Mental health support
Since the beginning of the pandemic, mental health has been a major challenge. Confinement and inactivity during the lockdown, for example, have increased anxiety and distress of individuals and families who fear for their health and future.
Humanity & Inclusion and its partners provided communities and medical staff with information on mental health issues, a field that is underrepresented in Haiti. Some 2,000 patients and caregivers took part in awareness sessions and learned about the role of psychologists and psychiatrists, psychological distress, and psychological care management and its importance. Teams published informational videos in French on Creole on Facebook, reaching more than 120,000 people, and answered community questions ranging from “What is an emergency service?” to “What are the signs of psychological distress?”
More than 400 health professionals attended trainings to better meet the psychosocial needs of the community. The specialists learned how to listen attentively to patients without forcing them to speak, how to comfort them, and how to guide families to sources of information and refer them to the services and social support they need.
Teams offered psychological support to 270 patients and caregivers. An additional 130 patients participated in group therapy, enabling them to talk about their experiences. A helpline funded by the project offered emergency support and reassurance to 2,300 people in distress. When necessary, some participants were referred to a psychologist.