In June, Florcie Tyrell, Director of Organisation Peuple Œcuménique pour le Developpment du Nord-Est (OPODNE) asked for help to push the U.S. to send vaccines to Haiti, one of just five countries that had not received a single dose. More than 3,000 people stepped forward to urge President Biden to cut through the red tape and immediately send vaccines.
After the White House called to tell us that 500,000 Moderna doses were on the way to Haiti, Florcie arranged a meeting of 50 OPODNE leaders and the Northeast Department Public Health Director, who agreed to provide staff to distribute vaccines in rural communities, rather than just in cities.
OPODNE trained 63 leaders from 30 villages who recruited more than 800 people to be vaccine educators. Unfortunately, the Health Department never received resources to pay staff and support vaccine distribution in rural communities. So OPODNE is now working with the Catholic Medical Mission Board to bring their mobile vaccination teams to the rural communities.
OPODNE’s ongoing effort to protect the vulnerable communities from COVID demonstrates the need to rebuild Haitian democracy from local governments up. It also shows how important the Haitian diaspora community and allies are in pushing the U.S. government to support locally-led efforts to improve living conditions and restore democracy in Haiti. You can make your donation to support OPODNE here.