Want to know about COVID-19 in Haiti? Ask a nurse

Curated Story
Claudia Thomas Riche meets with nurses during a workshop
This article originally appeared on The New Humanitarian

The World Health Organisation declared 2020 “The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” marking 200 years since Florence Nightingale founded the profession. Yet the voices of the world’s 28 million nurses, the vast majority of whom are women, often go unheard. In Haiti, where COVID-19 cases are quickly rising and overwhelming a fragile healthcare system, nurses have on-the-ground information about how the pandemic is playing out but little access to public platforms or policymakers to allow them to share that knowledge. 

Ashoka Fellow Claudia Thomas Riché—the executive director of Nursing Education Collaborative for Haiti  (NECH-CIEH) and a nurse herself—is helping to coordinate the COVID-19 response while working to empower Haiti's nurses to have a seat at the decision-making table.

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Ashoka insight

Many factors, including the subordinate roles nurses are traditionally expected to play in Haitian healthcare settings, undervalued skills, and gender bias contribute to nurses' struggle to be heard. It's critical that we recognize nurses as changemakers in society, and understand the power of their perspectives. “We have a voice," Claudia says. "We don’t need someone else to talk for us.”