Episcopal Medical Missions Foundation

Making A Difference
 

 

EMMF: Making a Difference in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic city of San Pedro, one will find the Barrio Los Flores (Neighborhood of Flowers). The Barrio is one of the poorest areas of this small Caribbean country. There, one will also find the Buen Pastor nutrition center and clinic. The Episcopal Order of the Sisters of The Transfiguration oversees this outreach of compassion.

The work is multifaceted. The Barrio is made up of families that came to San Pedro following promises of work. When no work was found, they "squatted" on the land adjacent to the sewage treatment plant. Realizing that there was no end to the medical needs of this community, the Sisters started a nutrition center to help the acutely malnourished infants and children. Some 2,000 children under the age of five are in need of attention. Programs in hygiene and basic health care education were started. A small medical clinic has been added recently. Visiting professionals from the U.S. have been helpful.

Sister Jean Gabriel has asked for help in establishing a program for pelvic exams and prenatal exams. The major medical problems are (in order of incidence) parasites, gastroenteritis (diarrhea and dehydration), malnutrition, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, and high blood pressure. The neighborhood children suffer from parasites, scabies, malnutrition, and numerous skin diseases. Many cases are extreme.

Although government and private hospitals exist, the poor cannot afford care. A visiting physician said, "They can't even afford a good diagnosis." The new clinic hopes to alleviate this situation. A multidiscipline effort is being planned. Units to be included are eye, dentistry, pediatrics, OB-GYN, general surgery, lab services, pharmacy, and a teaching program.

EMMF's Role
In 1996 EMMF continued to support the San Lucas Clinic which it had helped to establish in 1993-1995.

The San Lucas Clinic was initially conceived by Sister Jean Gabriel, C.T., who suggested that an old abandoned two-story school building adjacent to the San Estaban¹s Church in San Pedro de Macoric could be converted into an outpatient/teaching clinic with particular services such as ophthalmology, ObGyn, pediatrics, dentistry and an operating suite.

On his initial site visit in August, 1992, Keith McCaffety inspected the building and asked the Board of EMMF to approve a major commitment by EMMF to organize teams to provide renovation of the building and medical/dental services to the poor people of the barrio served by San Estaban's and its rector The Rev. Alfred Williams.

With the approval of the Board and the complete backing of Bishop Julio Hoguin of the Diocese of Dominicana, EMMF coordinated a three year project to renovate the property and turn it into a clinic and quarters for visiting Episcopalian teams.

Specifically EMMF sent a construction engineer and nine teams over a two year period to replace the roof, ceiling and rotted eaves, to rewire the upper floor, replace bad timbers in the roof, undercoat the metal roof, treat for termites, replumb the building, and drill a water well to insure uncontaminated water for the clinic operation.

EMMF provided funds, equipment, and personnel to create a radiology unit, pharmacy, dental program, and clinics in ObGyn, ophthalmology, pediatrics, family planning, and general medicine. To top it off, EMMF secured the services of a nurse with a Master¹s degree in public health to administer the clinic and to teach midwifery as well as general public health education.

A dentist and his wife from Texas initiated the services at St. Luke's Clinic by conducting a clinic for four months at their own expense. Another Texan, a cranio-facial surgeon, visited the clinic and made suggestions for the development of its surgical suite. During all this time children, who needed care that the clinic could as yet not provide, were taken to Houston and received orthopedic care and physical rehabilitation arranged by an EMMF pediatrician.

After the clinic was established EMMF turned over the operation of the clinic to a local committee. Since then, periodic reports indicate that the clinic that EMMF launched is sailing smoothly along and delivering excellent health care to a poor people previously unserved. It was particularly gratifying to learn that many local physicians have stepped forward to donate as much as 25 hours per week to the clinic.

Links

Episcopal Schools in the Dominican Republic
Work Team Accomplishments
Scholarship Program information
A Prospectus: Deficit information
Profile: Clinica San Lucas
Profile: Bishop Julio C. Holguin
Plan for churches in the Dominican Republic

Republic Diocese Contacts List

Contacts:

Bishop, Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguin
Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana
Calle Santiago No. 114 Apartado 764
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Phones: 809-688-6016 / 809-686-6465 / 809-686-7493
Fax: 809-686-6364
Mail: c/o Lynx Air International DR/SD
Box 5000 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33340

Robert & Mauri Stevens
email: rstevens@codetel.net.do
Mail: c/o Lynx Air International DR/SD
Box 407052 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33340

Bob & Ellen Snow
email: 25627676@tricom.net
Mail: c/o Lynx Air International DR/SD
Box 407052 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33340

Centro Buen Pastor Sisters of the Transfiguration
Sister Gabriela & Sister Priscilla
email: ct.sisters@codetel.net.do
Mail: c/o Lynx Air International DR/SD
Box 5600 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33340

Special Note: When using Lynx Air, Letters and small packages can be sent and cost about $1.25/lb. Enclosing that with the shipment helps offset the cost to the recipient.

For more information about the Dominican Republic...

LANIC - Dominican Republic

DR One - Guide to the Dominican Republic

World Fact Book - Dominican Republic

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