Barahona is a city in southwest Dominican Republic, approximately a four-hour drive west of Santo Domingo and an hour-and-a-half east of the border with Haiti. The population of the province of Barahona is 179,239. This is a hot, dry area with several mountain ranges and large valleys, primarily growing sugar cane. The region has a significant Haitian influence.
Outside of Barahona, extending roughly 10-20 miles, are 20 communities of approximately 3,000 people each that are called “bateys” These very poor communities house the workers for the sugar cane fields, the majority of whom are Haitian. IHSF is partnered with ROW and the Evangelical Church of Dominica. Our role in this partnership is to enhance clinical services working with the regional hospital in Barahona and the Clinica Buen Samaritano Batey 7. The primary medical liason for the project in Barahona is Dr. Jorge L. Volquez Alcantera.
Based on our April 2008 visit, the immediate need is to find a US hospital that will partner with the Barahona Health System. The regional hospital has just opened an intensive care unit (ICU) and needs ICU nurse training, as well as ongoing nursing training in other clinical areas.
We will also be working with MedShare International and the hospital administration to determine if a container shipment of medical supplies and equipment will meet their needs. The hospital indicates that its funding is at about 50% of its needed budget, leaving them short on basic supplies.
IHSF continues to work closely with ROW and MedShare International, and is currently seeking to secure the funding for a 2009 container shipment. In March 2009, a ROW mission team including volunteers from the First Baptist Church of Scottsboro, visited Batey 7. The team dug two new latrines for the batey, and poured concrete floors in eleven of the homes. Dr. Volquez states that disease can potentially be cut by one-third in this batey with the addition of new latrines and concrete floors.
If you would like to be a part of a mission team or can assist in providing financial support for the shipment of medical supplies, please contact ROW.