Industry Update/National Response
- 22 March: March 19, 2020- March 19, 202 1, one (I) year since the first 2 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVlD-19) were confirmed positive by the National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP) of the Ministry of Public Health and of the Population (MSPP). Today, there are 12,714 confirmed cases, 838 hospitalized, I0,612 recovered and 251 deaths for a case fatality rate of 1.97%. New epidemiological data show a decrease in the latter. The reality shows that the country has not suffered as many deaths or severe cases as we expected according to the first forecasts on the possible damage of the disease in Haiti without having yet enough scientific evidence to explain this. state of affairs.
- 8 March: Haiti’s Ministry of Health confirmed 12,663 cases of COVID-19 with 10,148 recovered. The pandemic case fatality rate in the country is 1.97%.
- The apparel sector has been seriously affected by the government responses to the pandemic and reduced global demand. Apparel jobs have been reduced by 19,000 in Haiti since April 2020. On the demand side, there have been negative shocks from reduced existing and new orders from buyers.
- In May 2020, 45% of apparel companies in Haiti reported at least a 50 percent reduction in the volume and value of orders. 55 percent of factory owners and managers do not have contingency plans or exit strategies, and factories have limited supplies of raw materials and working capital that are being rapidly exhausted by fixed costs.
- All open garment factories have implemented some prevention measures to spreading of Covid-19 (restricting crowds, social distancing, hand-washing, temperature measuring, and distribution of protective equipment to workers). Some additionally do fumigation of the working environment after working hours.
- January 2021: The government officially launched a Post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan (PREPOC) to contribute to the sustainable recovery of the Haitian economy and to create new jobs, reinvigorate economic growth, and put the country back on the path of development and social prosperity.
- The government also issued a list of measures to face the critical insecurity situation ongoing in the country exerted by kidnaping, as it affects workers who feel threatened during their journey to work.
- Nationally confirmed COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Haiti. The MSPP has published a list of 68 COVID-19 test collection sites in all departments of the country.
Factory Services Update
- In-person assessments have resumed. Advisory and training are being delivered virtually until further notice.
- For the first trimester of 2021, all in-person assessments are conducted with MAST (Ministry of Labour) inspectors.
- Advisory services are being delivered virtually with a focus on response to Covid-19, and the Better Work team is incorporating technical guidance for best practices. We developed and published a comprehensive Management guide on COVID-19 to all factories.
- BW is bringing to the attention of social security bodies the impact of social benefits for workers in the context of post-COVID-19
- There is continued collaboration with the ILO/AIDS and The World Health Organization (WHO) to provide specific COVID-19 prevention and infection control training to forty-eight factory medical personnel in Port-au-Prince and the Northeast.
Additional Better Work Activities
- Better Work 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 MAST, Better Work published a comprehensive guide for a better response to COVID-19 for participating factories, and has continued broadcasting information to bipartite and OSH committees to raise awareness of labour-related recommendations during the pandemic.
- 3300 workers in 38 factories were interviewed in a workers’ survey conducted by BWH at the end of 2020, with a focus on workers’ well-being. This has become increasingly important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Forthcoming publication of the findings will inform training on mental well-being in 2021 for both workers and managers.
- BWH established a collaboration with workers’ organizations to train their leaders at the factory level, who will train other union members on prevention and OSH guidelines for COVID-19
- Through its partnerships with ILO/AIDS, UNICEF, and PROFAMIL, BWH provided awareness-raising sessions on HIV and the prevention of COVID-19 to approximately 9406 workers in Port-au-Prince and Caracol. 275 pregnant women who participated in the program benefited from a wide range of prenatal services, including medical screening for HIV, syphilis, and providing obstetrical ultrasound services.
- Considering workers’ concerns and questions, BWH continues engaging with the bipartite and OSH committees to broadcast key provisions of national and international labour standards relevant to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.