COL (R) Bruce Palmatier ’74 is helping lead the effort to fight COVID-19 in Haiti. As volunteer treasurer for Seeds of Hope for Haiti, Inc., he and his team are working with an in-country partner to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID-19 care and education to the remote mountain village of Grand Boulage, Haiti.
Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has experienced natural and man-made disasters that have devastated the country’s domestic capacity for providing its citizens the basic healthcare that we in the U.S. take for granted. The situation has only worsened over the past year with tremendous social and political upheaval, according to Palmatier. Gang activity is especially bad in and around Port-au-Prince. Now COVID-19 has hit Haiti.
“Confirmed cases appear low,” Palmatier said, “but testing is almost non-existent, so the actual number is likely orders of magnitude higher. Social distancing is largely ignored because so much of their meager economy depends on ‘marchants’ (street merchants pronounced “marshants”) to feed their families. No work? No food.”
The inability now to travel to Haiti has also seriously hampered their team’s ability to stay connected with the people of Haiti.
Last year, Seeds of Hope for Haiti opened a clinic in Grand Boulage, located in the central plateau about 13 miles northeast of the Port-Au-Prince airport. This clinic is the target for their COVID-19 support.
Their goal is to provide PPE and COVID-19 care at the clinic to a population already struggling with food insecurity, poverty and political division.
WPAOG would like to thank Bruce and all of the West Point grads doing their part to help during this pandemic.