Haiti – COVID : PAHO/WHO calls for the intensification of the health response in Haiti
Wednesday June 2, 2021, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne warned that the COVID-19 response in Haiti must be scaled up dramatically to cope with sharply escalating cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in recent weeks.
“We call on partners and organizations working in Haiti to urgently reinforce the response to COVID-19 […] The country will need additional health capacity, as well as support to embrace preventive measures required to curb transmission. Both will be decisive in the coming weeks. There is no time to waste,” said Dr Etienne during his weekly press briefing.
PAHO is working with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population to scale up care for infected people and increase supplies of protective equipment for health workers. PAHO is collaborating to reduce transmission through increased testing, which allows for identification and quarantine of infected people.
PAHO will also facilitate the upcoming delivery of the first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to Haiti. The vaccines were procured through COVAX, the global alliance to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“A very high priority is to offer vaccination to all frontline health workers over 18 years of age,” Dr. Etienne said.
She explained that the increased transmission is likely fueled by two variants of concern, (B 1.1.7 “Alpha” and P1 “Gamma”) and because public health measures are “being largely ignored by the general population. The situation we’re seeing in Haiti is a cautionary tale in just how quickly things can change with this virus.”
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