Borgne is preparing for COVID-19

The first case of COVID-19 has arrived in Borgne.

A man who had been working in the Dominican Republic (which has a pretty bad outbreak) turned up at the hospital last week and was taken by ambulance to the Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot, Haiti. No other cases have yet been identified in Borgne, but there are more than 300 cases in Haiti and 20 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Of course the level of health care in Haiti—only 25 doctors and 11 nurses per 100,000 people—and the capability for testing—currently only two labs have a machine that can run a test—are very low, so the extent of spread may never be known. The medical system in Haiti also is not equipped to provide ICU care with ventilation, so it is imperative that they focus on reducing the spread of the virus as much as possible. Haitians are ready to step up to this difficult challenge, but funding is needed to support them.

The Foundation Dauphin in Borgne has a sewing training program which was ready to sew masks for the hospital and the larger community.  Cloth has been difficult to find since the market was shut down.  With funding from Friends of Borgne, Foundation director Francius Estimable (Johnny) has been following some leads and found some cloth in Port au Prince that he had a friend get for him.

He recently held a mask making training session on May 7, and the five trained seamstresses and seamsters and their helpers have already sewn hundreds of masks for the hospital, cemetery workers, Scouts, and food programs for the elderly.

The Scouts also requested aid to set up hand washing stations in the markets and provide community education out in the hills where many families lack cell phone service. 

Forty-five Scout leaders from the seven sections of the community plus the town were trained by health workers from the hospital.

They were provided with masks, and were each given two hand washing stations with Clorox and soap as well as a portable karaoke machine for doing community education. 

The hospital is in the process of establishing a field hospital next door to handle an influx of patients. A while ago they had built a large chicken coop, hoping to start a cooperative, but it was never used for chickens.  Now they are turning the chicken coop into a field hospital!  They completed it with bamboo posts using volunteer labor and are in the process of stuccoing the outside to keep out rain/wind. 

Thanks to your help Friends of Borgne has sent funds to Borgne to purchase mask-making supplies and to train local seamstresses/seamsters in making them, helped the Scouts set up hand washing stations and get megaphones for community education out in the hills, and provided cement for weather-proofing the field hospital for receiving COVID patients.

Friends of Borgne is continuing to raise money to support these community requests and also to provide additional food to the families of our students as they maintain social distancing. Food supplies were already short in Haiti due to the ongoing political crisis and last fall’s blockade.  Hunger is up 15% this year.  People do not have stores of food or money or social safety nets to get them through, and now they are not supposed to work.   

Fodasyon Dauphin Director Francius Estimable (Johnny) modeling one of the masks made by the sewing program

Please help in any way you can–prayers, ideas, donations of any amount.  As a global community of talented and committed people helping one another, we will get through this.  May you all stay healthy and well.

Fodasyon Dauphin Director Francius Estimable (Johnny) modeling one of the masks made by the sewing program.