The mission in the Dominican Republic’s rural communities
The Order of Malta’s volunteer doctors assist 1400 people
For over a decade the Cuban Association with headquarters in Miami has been offering its specialist medical services – cardiology, urology, gynaecology, gastroenterology and paediatric dentistry – to people living in the most isolated rural communities of the Dominican Republic.
The medical mission of the second semester of 2012 was carried out on the weekend between 20th and 24th September. Like other years, fifty volunteers – to date the most numerous group – flew to the Dominican Republic from Miami in Florida. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and support personnel put their expertise at the service of the population. Also transported were medicines worth over 100,000 dollars to be donated.
In the Manuel J. Centurion hospital at the ILAC centre of Licey al Medio, a locality 140 km north of the capital Santo Domingo, over 1400 people were examined under the supervision of doctors Jorge Echenique and José Joaquín Centurion, both members of the Cuban Association. Besides consultations, the patients received high-quality free medicines, besides the warmth of the Order of Malta’s volunteers from Miami and Santo Domingo and from the Fondazione Bambino Divino of the archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the country.
The patients of this community are very grateful for this periodic assistance. One of these is Maria, aged 79, who lives not far from the border with Haiti. She’s hypertensive and diabetic and tells us: “I work in the fields where it’s difficult to eat. Without these doctors who examine me and give me the medicines to take during the year, I wouldn’t be alive”.
The next medical mission is scheduled for February 2013.