March 25 2020

Dominican Republic: our partner MOSCTHA is committed to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable

(situation on 25/03/2020)

The Dominican Republic is also being confronted with the corona crisis. The first infections, of which it is not clear where the virus was contracted, are known. So far, 2 deaths and 34 infections have been recorded. 61 people are in isolation in hospitals. The results of 55 tests are still pending.

Today, the quarantine has been extended by 25 days: from now on, all shops are closed except supermarkets, food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations. Cruise ships are not allowed to leave port and most flights have been cancelled. The consequences for the Dominican economy are immense.

Health system inadequate to cope with pandemic

The health system in the Dominican Republic is a cause for concern: hospitals tend to lack sufficient space and most doctors are not prepared for a pandemic. This is particularly visible in areas where the poorest and most vulnerable populations live, such as the 'Bateyes' (former sugar cane areas). This is where migrants, mainly Haitians, live with their families. To get help, they have to travel long distances to the nearest hospital. Other vulnerable communities, such as workers in the informal sector, are also affected. Measures require street traders to stop their activities. Since they do not have any earnings,[MB1]  they can't buy hygiene products to protect themselves from the virus. They are therefore a priority target group for emergency aid.

MOSCTHA supports measures to reduce COVID-19 impact on vulnerable people

The Dominican government is taking specific precautions. There is a national prevention campaign where people are trained to administer first aid and supervise their own communities to prevent the spread of the virus.

In parallel, our partner MOSCTHA decided to develop an additional prevention campaign, aimed at providing the right information even in the most vulnerable areas and providing care for infected persons where necessary. MOSCTHA mainly assists Haitian migrants, undocumented migrants and other vulnerable people in precarious living situations who may not be reached through the government's campaign. Within this target group, 'hygiene kits' will be distributed with antibacterial gel, antibacterial soap, mouth masks, disposable gloves and sanitary towels.

To make this possible, MOSCTHA developed a care plan from health centre 'La Solidarité' and also makes its community workers available for emergencies in remote communities where MOSCTHA is usually active. When providing emergency relief, MOSCTHA takes into account all guidelines to minimise the risk of contamination.

MOSCTHA wants to assure patients, especially those with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, that appropriate medical care is also available for them. This target group is at higher risk due to their weakened immune system. MOSCTHA set up working groups of doctors, nurses, bio scientists, psychologists and others to ensure care for infected patients.

Distribution of materials to avoid virus spread in high risk areas

MOSCTHA requests external support for the purchase of materials and products that can prevent the spread of the virus.

The list of urgent supplies is long, and products are scarce everywhere:

Preventive hygiene kits:

-15 gallons 70°C alcohol
-15 gallon antibacterial gel
-15 gallon antibacterial soap
-1000 mouth masks
-40 boxes of latex gloves
-500 boxes of sanitary napkins


-3000 Acetaminophen 500 mg
-500 units Neumelubrin

-50 cotton boxes or bags[MB2] 
-300 boxes of CURAM
-1000 SUBROX L
-2000 Amoxicillin 500 mg
-2000 Cetirizin 10 mg
-1000 Ambroxol 15 mg/ 5 ml syrup
-1500 Azithromycin 500 mg

WSM and other actors will work to help MOSCTHA collect these resources.

To be continued.





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