Updated: Feb 22
Early this week, Overture International met with child protection partners in Les Cayes to address the risks to children in the current Coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, March 24, Overture International and representatives from its partners participated in a local radio and television broadcast to educate the public on basic facts about Coronavirus, how to protect your family from the virus, what to do if you get sick, and important numbers to call for help. Participants included leaders from Overture International, CFRAPS (local child advocacy NGO), IBESR (the Haitian child welfare agency), and Hope for Haiti.
Jocelyn Nelson, OOI Director
Bertrand Méridien, IBESR South Director
Dr. Denis Murline, Hope for Haïti
Shella Goda, CFRAPS Pubic Health Instructor
Valès Saint Val, OOI Social Worker
The 1.5 hour broadcast on Radio-Tele Caramel covered various topics including:
What is Coronavirus and how it is transmitted
Its impact on the world and the current situation in Haiti
Symptoms to look for
How to protect yourself from the virus (especially if you do not have soap, sanitizer, etc.)
What to do if you get sick
Who is the most vulnerable to the virus
How to raise awareness in your community
Important numbers to call for questions and help
Participants all stressed the importance of washing hands frequently, staying home or away from large crowds, and keeping hands away from the face. Above all, the stressed the importance of community solidarity in combating the virus.
Emphasis was placed on the sense of solidarity that members of the community must cultivate in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Knowing that Haiti does not have adequate health infrastructure to care for a significant number of patients, it is up to the community to care for infected persons.
Why was this broadcast so important?
After several visits to various communities with families, Social Workers from Overture International, Espwa and IBESR recognized the very real panic and fear that families are experiencing. One of the most powerful things we can provide during a crisis like this is accurate information.
Impoverished families need information, training, and support as they are the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Without government support through social and community services, families living in poverty are often left with no sense of security, both physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, the risk of transmission will prevent frequent visits for community meetings that would have been regularly scheduled for family support meetings.
Haitians rely heavily on radio broadcasts for much of their daily news and information. Training and information through radio broadcast allow us to not only reach families with whom we have regular contact, but also extends our reach to a broader range of communities.
This week, the broadcast will air on local television stations and will also be disseminated in a series through Facebook which some people can access via their phones.
Overture International is taking addition steps to support communities during this time of crisis by pre-staging food supplies in critical areas for possible emergency distributions.
We are grateful for this opportunity through Radio-Tele Caramel and for our child protection partners who continue to pursue avenues of support for vulnerable children and families during this pandemic.
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