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Posted By: Dr. Mary Blair-Giscombe on February 19, 2013

Labels: Dominican Republic , Health Care Education, Health Systems Strengthening, Volunteers, Women’s and Children’s Health

Volunteer Dr. Blair-Giscombe in the  Dominican Republic.

Today we ventured out to a small, poor community just minutes behind the Monte Plata clinic. It reminded me of when my father would take us to the saw mill quarters in rural Mississippi. There were small houses put together with tin and wood.Some only had earthen floors; others had wood floors.We were told that the residents in this area may only have one meal a day and that they made a living by selling their animals to the local butcher. At each house we approached, we discussed the importance of using the clinic for the residents’ health care needs - especially the children who needed vaccines or were ill. 

Volunteer Dr. Blair-Giscombe in the  Dominican Republic..

One memorable moment was when we approached a house where the parents were hesitant to allow us to see their children. There were two infants, one round and fat; the other was thin with a persistent cough. The thin baby also had a rash on her arms and legs.The parents allowed me to listen to the child’s chest, and I realized she was wheezing and coarse on both sides. My immediate concern was that she could have pneumonia or bronchiolitis. The mother later told me that the child had had several days of fever as well. Then, I became concerned about the rash. She appeared to have scabies. At this point, I wished I could have transported her immediately to the clinic for further evaluation, but the young mother of 16 years was hesitant. We urged her to take her child to the clinic immediately. 

Volunteer Dr. Blair-Giscombe in the  Dominican Republic.

This visit to the community was an “eye opener” and a reminder to me as to why I went into medicine in the first place.  I left that small community knowing Project HOPE is just that - a project of hope and the needs of the people are screaming at us!  

All in all, my experience at the Monte Plata clinic has been heaven sent. I was surrounded by supportive and amazing physicians, nurses and support staff.Departing is such sweet sorrow, but I have learned a wealth of information, and I feel capable of taking on anything in life. Thanks Project HOPE, Order of Malta, and Monte Plata’s clinic for this wonderful experience!

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