What is the Mercredi de Réflexion?
The Mercedi de Réflexion is a monthly meeting organized by the IDB Haiti Country Office that tackles relevant topics for the country’s development and economic growth. These meetings bring to the table sector specialists, academics, politicians and members of civil society to explore different points of view surrounding the topic of choice.
On Wednesday February 17, 2021, the Mercredi de Réflexion focused on the current stage and the road ahead for the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in Haiti. Mr. Silin from the Minister of Finance, Dr. Laure Adrien from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Pape from Gheskio and Dr. Gue from PAHO participated in the event, which was moderated by Mr. Kesner Pharel and attended by more than 80 guests. The meeting produced the following three key takeaways:
1. Vaccines can help Haiti overcome the COVID-19 crisis, but there are still challenges ahead for their effective deployment.
COVID-19 is one of the worst pandemics the world has experienced in recent times. The pandemic has spared no one and in the case of Haiti, COVID-19 has hit the country in the midst of a deep political divide and within a climate of increasing insecurity and protests. Haiti is currently going through a second rise in cases, reaching 12,296 confirmed cases and 247 deaths as of February 13, 2021.
The vaccination process has taken over the headlines worldwide, as countries rollout mass vaccination program. However, there are still many challenges ahead. These include, amongst others:
- How to finance the vaccination campaign?
- Who to target?
- How to overcome logistical challenges such as ensuring cold-chain logistics and the adequate training of workers?
- How to increase the populations’ knowledge and sensibilization?
- How to effectively collect, process and use data to inform the process?
2. The logistics of distributing the vaccines are being developed and published by the Ministry of the Population and Public Health
Both international and national funding for vaccines have to be guided by a national implementation plan. The Ministry of the Population and Public Health has prepared a national plan for the distribution of vaccines which is to be released soon. The criteria for vaccine selection are: 1) Approved by WHO; 2) the capacity to be preserved given Haiti’s challenges to ensure a cold chain during the distribution of vaccines; 3) the least number of doses possible; 4) the least costly.
Additional challenges with regards to the deployment of the vaccine include the need to:
- Launch information and sensibilization campaigns to minimize the population’s resistance;
- How to make use of the lessons learned and structures put in place during previous large scale vaccination programs, such as cholera and the human papilloma;
- How to best confront the pandemic with a united front and in collaboration with all entities, including public, private sector, NGOs and the international community.
3. Financing for the vaccination program will be provided by COVAX and the Government, under the PREPOC 2020-2023
There are two key sources of financing for COVID-19 vaccines in Haiti. In the international arena, the country has requested assistance from COVAX. COVAX is an unprecedented effort to ensure all countries get access to COVID-19 vaccines and aims to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. At the national level, the vaccine campaign falls under the PREPOC (plan de relance économique post COVID) 2020-2023. A key pillar of this plan is to reinforce the health sector. For this, the Ministry of Finance is budgeting HTG32.4 billion over the next two fiscal years.
The deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in Haiti offers a solution to ease the effects of the pandemic, but also poses challenges. At the IDB, we remain committed to support the country of Haiti throughout this process and ensure all Haitians have access to this vaccine in a fair and equitable manner.
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