Hope resides in the eyes of children and in this case, in the eyes of their mothers. Patient, joyful, confident eyes, quite different than expressions which usually reside in third world country health clinics. October 30th was an especially meaningful day to spend in the Herrera Clinic in the Dominican Republic with the HOPE Delegation, Dr. Ed and Andrea Trott, Simon and Natalie King, Teresa Narvaez, Dr. Eleazar Pena, and Dr. John P. Howe, III, President and CEO of Project HOPE. And although neighborhood children were not preparing to dash about for candy on Halloween, they were skipping through the central hallway as their mothers, brothers and sisters received immunizations, prenatal check-ups and health information. To these children, visiting the doctor was rather a delight!
Dr. Ed Trott was struck by the difference between the clinic atmosphere and that of the local public hospital he and Andrea had visited the day before. “The patients from the Project HOPE clinics actually had records and had significantly higher successful birth rates than mothers who had not received prenatal check-ups or proper care. You could really see how education made a huge difference in their lives.”
”The children in the Herrera Clinic were so calm and happy. Not one child was crying. But in the public hospital, four to five women shared a bed and went home four hours after having a C-section. I found that type of care unimaginable, ” said Andrea Trott, Pharmacist.
Following the Herrera Clinic visit, the HOPE Delegation travelled to dinner hosted by Sr. Jose Miguel Bonetti, former President of the Order of Malta and long-time friend of Project HOPE. “Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two wings of the same bird. Over 40% of the women and children we see at the Herrera and Monte Platta Clinics are Haitian. This means that we are not only treating people with dignity but building peace between the two nations” said Sr. Bonetti.
The morning of October 31st, Halloween, held an enchanting visit to the Project HOPE offices and ground breaking ceremony for the third clinic in Haina. During the ceremony, words of gratitude expressed hope that the third clinic would have the same impact as the other two clinics and treat mothers for multiple generations. “I saw five women in the Herrera Clinic yesterday who expressed their gratitude to Project HOPE because their mother’s had received care and now they were bringing their own children to the same clinic. Our partnership with the Order of Malta makes this all possible,” said Dr. Howe.
Following additional remarks from Dr. Howe, the Mayor of Haina, and Dr. Rafael Schiffino, the crowd cheered as two shovels lifted dirt from the trenches already prepared for the foundation of the clinic. “This is a momentous day for the women and a child of Haina, as quality health care and health education is finally here. We have the Dominican Association of the Order of Malta and Project HOPE to thank for this,” said the Mayor of Haina. “Project HOPE and ADOM are helping us to achieve our vision of reducing maternal and infant mortality,” noted Dr. Schiffino.
Friday morning, November 1st concluded the HOPE Delegation’s visit to the Dominican Republic with a visit to Calventti Hospital, a rural hospital outside of Santo Domingo. Dr. Alberto Diaz, Hospital Director, who worked in the Project HOPE clinics in Herrera, is transforming health care practice for the whole region. “Our first priority is maternal and infant mortality. We need more training on uterine cancer prevention, maternal hemorrhaging, and preventing maternal mortality,” said Dr. Alberto Diaz.
From the eyes of children to those of HOPE physicians to the Minister of Health, all expressed their deepest gratitude for the life changing services Project HOPE provides in the Dominican Republic. As the Dominican Republic looks to build a new Children’s Hospital, Project HOPE will be there, alive and working to keep hope in the eyes of women and children of the Dominican Republic.
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