Haiti Travel Health Insurance – Country Review
Learn more about Haiti Travel Health Insurance with an overview from the CDC and the US State Department. Here we cover Vaccines, Medicines and Insurance.
At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following advice should help you make the most of your trip to Haiti.
Haiti Travel Health – CDC
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.
Vaccines and Medicines
Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.
CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Haiti, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
You will need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria. Your doctor can help you decide which medicine is right for you, and also talk to you about other steps you can take to prevent malaria. Areas of Haiti with risk of malaria: All (including Port Labadee). See more detailed information about malaria in Haiti.
You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Haiti. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.
CDC recommends this vaccine for adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission. Cholera is found in most parts of Haiti. Cholera is rare in travelers but can be severe. Certain factors may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease. (More Information). Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also prevent cholera.
You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Haiti, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:
- Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
- People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
- People who are taking long trips or moving to Haiti
- Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.
There is no risk of yellow fever in Haiti. The government of Haiti requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.
For more information on recommendations and requirements, see yellow fever recommendations and requirements for Haiti. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.
Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Find the clinic nearest you.
Note: Zika is a risk in Haiti. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women should not travel to Haiti. Partners of pregnant women and couples planning pregnancy should know the possible risks to pregnancy and take preventative steps (more information)
Stay Health and Safe
Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Haiti, so your behaviors are important.
Eat and Drink Safely
Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.
- Food that is cooked and served hot
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Food served at room temperature
- Food from street vendors
- Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
- Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
- Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)
- Bottled water that is sealed
- Water that has been disinfected
- Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
- Carbonated drinks
- Hot coffee or tea
- Pasteurized milk
- Tap or well water
- Ice made with tap or well water
- Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
- Unpasteurized milk
Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.
Prevent bug bites
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Haiti. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below) .
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
What type of insect repellent should I use?
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
- Always use insect repellent as directed.
What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?
- Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
- Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks
What can I do to avoid bed bugs?
Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs. For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites.
Some diseases in Haiti—such as dengue, leishmaniasis, and African sleeping sickness—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.
Note: Zika is a risk in Haiti. For more information, see Zika Travel Information.
Stay safe outdoors
If your travel plans in Haiti include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
- Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
- Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures.
- If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
- Protect yourself from UV radiation: use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
- Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
- Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.
Stay safe around water
- Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
- Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
- Do not dive into shallow water.
- Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
- To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.
Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Haiti. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.
Keep away from animals
Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:
- Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
- Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
- Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
- Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
- If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.
All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:
- Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
- Go to a doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.
Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.
Reduce your exposure to germs
Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.
Avoid sharing body fluids
Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
- Use latex condoms correctly.
- Do not inject drugs.
- Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
- Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
- If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.
Know how to get medical care while traveling
Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:
- Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
- Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
- Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Haiti embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
- Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.
Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (www.jointcommissioninternational.org).
In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.
Malaria is a risk in Haiti. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.
Select safe transportation
Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.
Be smart when you are traveling on foot.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
- Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.
Choose a safe vehicle.
- Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
- Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
- Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
- Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
- Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
- Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.
Think about the driver.
- Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
- Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
- Arrange payment before departing.
Follow basic safety tips.
- Wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
- When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
- Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Haiti may be poor.
- Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
- Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
- If you choose to drive a vehicle in Haiti, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
- Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver’s license at all times.
- Check with your auto insurance policy’s international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
- Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
- If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
- Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.
Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.
The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.
For information traffic safety and road conditions in Haiti, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State’s country-specific information for Haiti.
Maintain personal security
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Before you leave
- Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
- Monitor travel warnings and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
- Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.
While at your destination(s)
- Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate.
- Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
- Follow all local laws and social customs.
- Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
- Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
- If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.
Healthy Travel Packing List
Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Haiti for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.
Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?
It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.
After Your Trip
If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.
For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel.
Haiti Travel Health – The US State Department
U.S.- HAITI RELATIONS
When Haiti is more prosperous, secure, and firmly rooted in democracy, Haitians and Americans benefit. U.S. policy toward this close neighbor is designed to foster the institutions and infrastructure necessary to achieve strong democratic foundations and meaningful poverty reduction through sustainable development. The United States provides substantial humanitarian assistance so the most vulnerable Haitians can better meet their basic needs in health and nutrition. Assistance for long-term development and institution building is another pillar of U.S.-Haiti bilateral cooperation. Priority areas include support for economic growth and poverty reduction, improved healthcare and food security, promoting respect for human rights, building stronger democratic institutions, and strengthening the Haitian National Police (HNP) so that Haiti provides its own security and can be a stronger partner against international crime. Because poverty reduction and tackling chronic unemployment require job creation, the United States helps facilitate bilateral trade and investment with Haiti. The large Haitian diaspora in the United States is a potentially powerful ally in the effort to expand business opportunities and build on the many links that unite Haitians and Americans.
Much progress has been made in the eight years after the January 2010 earthquake that devastated much of the country. Haiti has transitioned from a post-disaster era to a period of reconstruction and long-term development. As of December 2016, approximately 97 percent of the 1.5 million displaced persons in camps had departed for alternative housing arrangements. Thousands of needed jobs have been created in Haiti’s growing export apparel sector. Since 2011, Haiti has achieved positive annual growth rates, including 5.5 percent in 2011 and 2.8 percent in 2014. With U.S. and international support, Haiti has achieved significant improvements in basic health indicators and seen a steady and substantial decrease in the number of cholera cases since the initial outbreak in 2010.
Haiti’s transition to a strong democracy is important to the United States as the country’s authoritarian history becomes increasingly part of its past rather than its future. Strong democratic institutions, in particular the holding of regular free and fair elections, can help guarantee Haiti’s democratic traditions and ensure a voice for the Haitian people in their governance. Haiti now has a democratically elected president who took office on February 7, 2017. A commitment to democracy and the rule of law also ensures that human rights and fundamental freedoms are better protected. The stability and predictability that come with these institutions are essential for Haiti to achieve sustained economic growth and to attract needed foreign investment.
While Haiti has made progress in many areas, much remains to be done to sustain and build on this progress. The growth of Haiti’s economy slowed to below 2 percent in 2015 and 2016 as political uncertainty, drought conditions, decreasing foreign aid, and the depreciation of the national currency took a toll on public and private investment. Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, made landfall on Haiti on October 4, 2016 with 140 mile-per-hour winds, creating a new humanitarian emergency. An estimated 2.1 million people were affected by the Category 4 storm which caused extensive damage to crops, houses, livestock, and infrastructure across Haiti’s southern peninsula. The slowing of Haiti’s economy continued in 2017, with growth around 1.2 percent, partly due to the economic impact of Hurricane Matthew. The IMF predicts nearly 3 percent growth for 2018, a marked improvement from the last couple of years but still nowhere near the sustained 7-8 percent annual growth needed for the Haitian economy to keep up with population growth. With a new government, the country can continue to develop and coalesce around a comprehensive agenda and address the ongoing challenges the country faces.
Despite measured improvements in Haiti since 2010, a number of Haitians continue to attempt to migrate illegally to the United States. These irregular migrant flows, often over dangerous land and sea routes, are often facilitated through illegal smuggling networks, and frequently result in the loss of money, possessions, and life. The United States and the Government of Haiti strongly discourage Haitians from undertaking dangerous journeys, both by land and sea, to the United States. In an effort to dissuade illegal migration attempts to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security issued a directive on September 22, 2016 to resume regular removals of Haitians who enter the United States illegally. The United States is also committed to apprehending and prosecuting the human smugglers who profit by organizing and carrying out illegal sea voyages and land movements. In addition to deterring illegal migration and preserving life, the United States works to address the root causes of illegal migration from Haiti by helping to create more economic opportunity for Haitians in their own country.
U.S. Assistance to Haiti
Since the earthquake, the United States has made available over $5.1 billion for assistance to Haiti to support life-saving post-disaster relief as well as longer-term recovery, reconstruction, and development programs. Even before the earthquake, Haiti was among the least developed nations and faced chronic challenges to meaningful poverty reduction. Against this background, the country’s reconstruction and development will continue for many years. Also, U.S. security and rule of law assistance in Haiti is grounded in supporting the Haitian National Police to achieve its development goals to improve the force’s capacity and grow its ranks in order to better serve and protect the Haitian people. Since the 2010 earthquake, U.S. assistance to the police school and HNP leadership helped increase the HNP force to 15,000 officers at the end of 2017, and helped enhance the capacity of the HNP’s special units.
Highlights of results of U.S. assistance to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake include:
With U.S. assistance, almost 13,000 jobs have been created, largely in the apparel industry at the Caracol Industrial Park (in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Haitian government, and the private sector) in Haiti’s north.
U.S. assistance has helped create approximately 4,000 jobs in 2017 and almost 20,000 jobs since 2011 through our Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement (LEVE) and Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) projects.
In the agricultural sector, U.S. assistance has helped 70,000 farmers increase crop yields. The U.S. government has also introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, and other technologies to more than 118,000 farmers through food security programs.
The Haitian National Police is stronger and U.S. assistance has helped increase the HNP to 15,000 officers.
More Haitians have access to police services following the construction of new police commissariats built in areas not previously serviced by the police.
U.S. assistance has contributed to measured improvements in basic health indicators, including child nutrition and mortality, improved access to maternal healthcare, and the containment of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
U.S. assistance has helped increase access to basic healthcare in 164 clinics across the country. In 2017, our clinics helped more than 72,000 children become fully immunized and 19,000 pregnant women have safe deliveries.
The U.S. government funded the construction of a 10 megawatt (MW) power plant in northern Haiti. This power plant provides 24/7 electricity to the Caracol Industrial Park, and in five communes surrounding the park. To date, more than 11,000 households, businesses, and government institutions have been properly connected with meters to the power grid.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Since 2011, the Haitian Government has emphasized encouraging foreign investment and developing private-led market-based economic growth. President Moise campaigned on a platform of economic development, innovation, energy reform, and universal education. The Government of Haiti encourages the inflow of new capital and technological innovations and has articulated a commitment to improve the business environment and attract foreign investors. Haiti’s Center of Investment Facilitation aims to facilitate and promote investment in the local economy by reducing administrative delays, streamlining the creation of enterprises, and facilitating the provision of inducements. However, overall costs to start and operate a new business in Haiti remain high; access to credit as well as structures for investor protection are still insufficient. The United States and Haiti have a bilateral agreement on investment guarantees that permits the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation to offer programs in Haiti.
The United States is Haiti’s largest trading partner. A growing number of U.S. firms maintain operations in Haiti, including commercial banks, airlines, oil and agribusiness companies, and U.S.-owned assembly plants. Opportunities for U.S. businesses in Haiti include light manufacturing, in particular textile and clothing production; the development and trade of raw and processed agricultural products; medical supplies and equipment; building and modernizing Haiti’s infrastructure; developing tourism and allied sectors such as arts and crafts; business process outsourcing; and improving capacity in waste disposal, transportation, energy, telecommunications, and export assembly operations.
Meaningful poverty reduction in Haiti will depend on job creation through economic activity and foreign investment. Toward that end, the United States promotes needed reforms in Haiti to make it easier and more predictable for businesses to operate and to create the kind of stable environment needed for investors.
Both Haitian and American importers and exporters can benefit under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act – the successor program of the Caribbean Basin Initiative – that provides for duty-free export of many Haitian products assembled from U.S. components or materials. The 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act and the 2010 Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP legislation) provide duty-free preferences for certain light-manufacturing products produced in Haiti, in particular apparel products. The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 extended trade benefits provided to Haiti in the HOPE and HELP Acts through September 2025. Haitian apparel factories eligible for duty-free entry into the United States under HOPE II and HELP must comply with international core labor standards and Haitian labor law. The HOPE and HELP Acts have been instrumental in the redevelopment of Haiti’s apparel industry which accounts for over 90 percent of national export earnings and provides over 45,000 jobs (2017).
Haiti’s Membership in International Organizations
Haiti and the United States are partners in promoting core values such as democracy, respect for human rights, and economic development both in the region and around the world. Both nations belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), Organization of American States (OAS), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), and World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States works closely with the OAS, UN, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and individual countries to advance its policy goals in Haiti.
Haiti maintain an embassy in the United States at 2311 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-4090).
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