Fighting Covid-19 in Haiti, and hope to return to school soon
Wisphania Metellus is nostalgic. She misses school and her classmates. Since the coronavirus was declared in Haiti, the 11-year-old girl stayed at home to do household chores. "As I don't go to school, I stay at home. I sweep the yard and the kitchen, I clean the house and I make the bed,” she said.
When Haiti back in March declared its first two cases of COVID-19, the country adopted preventive measures including a curfew and the closing of schools to curb the spread of the virus. Wisphania is one of 4 million Haitian children who have not been to school for nearly four months. While children are not most at risk of losing their lives at COVID-19, they are not always having access to the rights to education and development, as stated in the Convention on the Rights of the child. “Children can no longer go to school nor play with their friends. Because of the coronavirus, they are forced to stay at home. They no longer have access to their playgrounds, their classrooms, or their friends” said Jean Stenio Pierre, from UNICEF in Haiti.
Acted is one of many NGOs working in Haiti. Through UNICEF, which received CERF funds to responding to the COVID-19 outbreak in the in February 2020, community mobilizers from the NGO go from house to house to inform families to better protect themselves and their children. Following a communication strategy developed by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) with the support of the UNICEF, sensitizers explain in detail how to prevent from catching the disease. NGO ACTED has also distributed tap buckets to facilitate hand washing and they have broadcast messages on the radio and with megaphones to sensitize the population.
On numerous occasions Wisphania attended sensitization sessions at her home. She
e￼ seems to care about her health and knows the barrier gestures by heart. “To avoid getting the disease, you have to wash your hands often, not shake hands, nor kiss each other and keep two meters away from others,” Wisphania dreams of the end of the pandemic and return to school because she has a specific goal. “I want to do long studies and become a medical doctor to treat people.”