Let's Pray That the Coronavirus Stays Out of Haiti!
As of the writing of this blog, the coronavirus has not officially been introduced in Haiti. It is one of a quickly shrinking list of countries with no known cases. In fact, when I was coming back from Haiti people kept asking me if I would be quarantined upon entrance to America when the real question should have been why was I not quarantined on the way into Haiti. So I started thinking, hypothetically, what if the coronavirus does make it down to Haiti?
It is important to state, first of all, that there was a scare of that happening already just a few days ago. There was a “tap tap” (a Haitian taxi) full of a group of people when one of the Haitians that was in that taxi died. Because his death was due to some type of sickness, the other travelers were immediately quarantined. It was found out later that the guy did not have the coronavirus but rather died of a heart attack and that none of the others who were quarantined were infected either.
Even though no quarantined Haitian had the virus, something happened while in quarantine that may show the danger and fear that Haitians have of the virus arriving there. When the population heard of the quarantine, they found out where the group was being held, and began throwing rocks at the windows where the people were. The bottom line is that fear in this country could very easily cause more than a run on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and baked potatoes.
Even worse than the fear, however, is the idea that the virus is worse for those with preexisting medical conditions or for people who are not “healthy." The median age in Haiti is very low with 50% of the population under 30, and I have not met very many older Haitians who are in good health. On top of that, the number of people suffering from malnutrition, children in particular, is very concerning. With a struggling healthcare system, poor access to clean water and proper nutrition, and poor sanitation/hygiene, Haiti could be very greatly effected by any virus and especially one as dangerous as covid-19.
The social structure of Haiti is very concerning as well. In America, it is not uncommon for people to shut themselves off from others for a time. Most of us can exist on our own, feed ourselves, and have some sort of privacy that is just a part of our normal lives. This “privacy” does not exist in Haiti. You talk to people every single day because of culture, because they are your friends, and because of necessity. People need each other to survive for a variety of reasons and “social distancing,” while difficult in America, will be next to impossible in Haiti.
Maybe the most concerning thing about the possibility of the virus making its way to Haiti is the incredibly poor shape that the healthcare system is in. If you used the word “nonexistent” to describe it, you would not be far off. I know for a fact, if anyone in my family contracts the virus, I will be able to find medicine, if it gets serious I will take them to a hospital, and there are trained professionals in our country that can help. This is not the case in Haiti...At all.
In Haiti, there are not enough doctors to take care of the population on an everyday basis, if the virus comes here, I have no idea what will happen. When the earthquake hit, cholera broke out, or Hurrican Matthew devastated the southern peninsula, volunteers from around the globe stepped in. Doctors, nurses, medical planners, and anyone else who was needed came to provide aid. What happens when those aid workers are needed by their own country and their own family? What happens when Haiti is left to take care of herself? Let’s pray that we do not have to see what happens and that GOD prevents the spread of covid-19 here.