September 2021: Important efforts have been by the government of Haiti through the Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) to provide free vaccination. The MSPP released a list of 74 vaccination sites (28 in the West and 8 in North-East departments) with more than 15,000 people reported to be fully vaccinated. The West department remains with the highest total confirmed cases and men are more likely to be affected with 53% of total cases in the country.
September 6th, 2021: The MSPP announced the screening of two (2) new serious forms of COVID-19 in the country, the Delta and MU. The Minister of Health urges all people to get vaccinated because the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the top efficient control and protection measures against COVID-19 and prevention against known serious forms of this virus.
August 2021: Vaccination progress is slow, with less than 500 people reported to be fully vaccinated. The government has not announced a special vaccination plan for the garment sector.
July 2021: In the aftermath of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, Better Work staff have been requested to work from home and prioritize their personal safety and security. A return to office and factory services will be announced once the socio-political situation is stabilized.
As of 14 July, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) announced that the country received the first set of 500 000 doses of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine from the government of the United States of America through the COVAX provision. The Minister of Health confirmed that vaccination will be free nationwide. Until the 12th, 36 Better Work registered factories were operating with an average of 80% of the workforce following the MSPP recommendations and protective measures against COVID-19.
June 2021: As of late May, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) forbids all gathering events in schools such as graduation ceremonies, end-of-year celebrations, and recreational days in schools are prohibited until new order.
May 2021: The government issued an order declaring a state of health emergency throughout the national territory for a period of eight days, which may be extended.
Local and international media report that Haiti has authorized the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as COVID-19.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) alerted the screening of two variants of COVID-19 detected in the country. These are the Brazilian and the English variants. The ministry will continue to investigate to assess the extent of the problem given the high contagiousness of these variants and urge everyone to strictly apply the protective measure against COVID-19 spreading.
The ombudsman’s office will hold mediation sessions virtually to protect constituents and prevent any risk of COVID-19 spreading among actors in the textile sector, due to the alert of the MSPP of the presence of the Indian and Brazilian variants in the country. Face-to-face mediation meetings will be temporarily suspended, until further notice.
Factory Services Update
September 2021: 39 participating factories are now operating. The insecurity situation with gangs, shootings, and kidnapping remains an issue for workers’ journey to work. The National Police are deploying efforts to protect industrial park areas. Better Work Haiti and the MAST are exploring a hybrid operation mechanism to deliver services while continuing to work from home.
August 2021: 35 participating factories continue to operate with COVID-19 prevention measures. Four factories have closed. Some factories are not operating at 100% because of continuing civil unrest and insecurity restricting workers’ journey to work. Better Work Haiti staff have continued to work from home because of this threat and civil unrest.
May 2021: In-person assessments have resumed, alongside MAST inspectors. Advisory and training are delivered virtually until further notice.
Better Work participating factories continue to implement the basic prevention measures to spreading of COVID-19 (restricting crowds, social distancing, hand-washing, temperature measuring, and distribution of protective equipment to workers.)
Advisory services are delivered virtually with a continuous focus on response to COVID-19 and urging employers to implement guidelines of the comprehensive Management guide on COVID-19 to all factories.
Better Work is bringing to the attention of social security bodies the importance of revenue collection losses and the impact of social benefits for workers in the context of COVID-19.
Better Work is collaborating with the ILO/AIDS and The World Health Organization (WHO) to provide specific COVID-19 prevention and infection control training to forty-eight (48) factory medical personnel in Port-au-Prince and the Northeast, including (34) women.
Other Better Work Activities
Better Work has supported the first group of unions and ADIH to sign the “Call To Action” agreement that aims to provide some kind of economic support to workers to help mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19.
65 participants from 18 factories joined a webinar hosted by Better Work Haiti on the International Day of Security and Health. This event has focused on the topic of investing now in resilient systems to anticipate and resolve crises and discussing key measures taken to protect the safety and health of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Better Work published the findings of a workers’ survey conducted at the end of 2020 on 3300 workers in 38 factories with a focus on workers’ well-being.
Better Work Haiti is liaising with all stakeholders to limit the impact on workers and business and identify a collective approach to support the industry.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), Better Work published a comprehensive “Guide for Better Response to COVID-19 for Participating Factories” and continued broadcasting information to bipartite and OSH committees to raise awareness among stakeholders for common understanding of labor-related recommendations during COVID-19.
To influence labor market governance to improve compliance in a more sustainable way, Better Work Haiti established a collaboration with workers’ organization to train their leaders at the factory level, who will train other union members on prevention and OSH guidelines for COVID-19 (30 members, 13 women participated in the training sessions.).
As part of the global “Call to Action,” Better Work Haiti and national stakeholders will support 10,000 workers (including 1,500 pregnant women) that experienced work stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to benefit from direct financial aid that can help them to recover from unexpected expenses on households to meet their basic needs.
Considering workers’ concerns and questions, Better Work Haiti continues engaging with the bipartite and OSH committees to broadcast key provisions of national and international labor standards relevant to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.