As much of the world starts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, SBH staff continues to see the far-reaching consequences of health inequity in Haiti. While the disease is no longer a direct threat to most of our patients, they are suffering from its ancillary effects, including a steep rise in food insecurity. Lisa Eppich, HEI’s development and communications manager, spoke with Miss Claudine Joseph Bernard, SBH’s head community health nurse, to find out how our community health team is combatting this crisis:
Lisa Eppich: What has been surprising about how the pandemic has impacted Haiti so far?
Claudine Bernard: There is a clear connection between food insecurity and the pandemic. People were told not to go outside unless necessary; this meant that the farmers’ market everyone goes to became paralyzed. Many vendors [stayed home]…it became difficult to find food to eat. The economy is [also] in decline. With the lack of money and scarcity of food products, people have lost weight.
LE: How has the community health team helped to mitigate the impact of this food insecurity?
CB: Our staff has nutritional recovery clinics in the communities we serve. We have an outpatient program for severe cases of malnutrition and a nutritional supplementation program for moderate cases. We have distributed over 500 food kits for underweight children. We educate parents continuously.