In Haiti, more than 95% of public health facilities are in need of urgent repair due to normal deterioration and decades of neglect. The country’s extreme poverty means that many facilities lack plumbing, improved sanitation, adequate infectious waste disposal, sterilization equipment, electricity, and/or access to a basic running water supply.
Strong water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure underpins the delivery of safe, quality health services for all, and is an important enabler of infection prevention and control in health care settings, including of COVID-19.
As part of CMF’s Stop the Gaps campaign, we partnered with Partners in Health Canada who, through their sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), addressed infrastructure concerns at the HUM, which is one of the main COVID-19 treatment centers and referral hospitals in the country.
At the start of the pandemic, ZL and the hospital identified gaps in its WASH infrastructure. The institution lacked sufficient numbers of working toilets and handwashing stations to meet the needs of the patients, staff and visitors who came to the facility on a daily basis. This was particularly concerning as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise and given the important role handwashing plays in disrupting the transmission of the virus, strengthening WASH was seen as an urgent priority.
Through CMF’s Stop the Gaps grant, in spite of a near unprecedented escalation in violence and security this past year that disrupted the procurement of supplies, HUM was able to install handwashing stations at the main entrance, primarily for the benefit of patients and visitors who are now able to disinfect prior to entering the hospital. The team also installed new handwashing stations in the neonatal intensive care unit, the pediatrics department, maternity ward, emergency department, and the orthopedics department – which is currently acting as the COVID-19 treatment unit. Broken toilets across the hospital were replaced, and new toilets were installed in the COVID-19 treatment unit, upholding standards of infection prevention and control and providing dignified care to those infected with the coronavirus.
The project has enhanced infection prevention and control efforts for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and given patients, visitors, and staff access to dignified sanitation and hygiene options. We thank our generous donors for their support which made this project possible.