In an unprecedented move, our NGO counterpart, La Fundacion Red Oasis (LFRO), in Peralta has successfully created a partnership with the Dominican Ministry of Health (MOH). It’s the first time the MOH has partnered with a community-based organization to improve health conditions in rural areas.
The partnership establishes the Peralta clinic as an official MOH clinic, which means the government is responsible for providing funding for personnel, including a physician, pharmacist, nurses and community health care works, as well as funds for medications and vaccines. LFRO will oversee the staff selection. And clinic operations
Among the staff to be hired are several community members who have been participating with us in the clinic on a volunteer basis. Not only will this improve the quality of life in Peralta, but it allows people to continue living and working in their community. For example, Dilcia Ramirez, a Peralta resident, moved to Santo Domingo to work as a maid while attending pharmacy school. Now she will be returning as the pharmacist. This is an opportunity that wouldn’t have been available previously.
It’s a bittersweet realization that the partnership with MOH marks the final phase of Community Empowerment’s role in the community. While we will continue to provide support over the coming year, we will begin to phase out our primary care work. This is because the combination of government support and proceeds from the water business, which directly supports staff and support clinic operations, allows the clinic to be self-sustainable. Our directive has always been to reach a point where there is a self-sustainable and recognized medical presence, which would eliminate the need for our support. It’s incredible to be so close to this goal.
Community Empowerment will continue to work with the MOH to implement our surgical program, which provides ENT, gynecological, urology and general surgery, along with three orthopedic teams, in the public regional and local hospitals.
As Peralta begins to shape their role in the greater healthcare system, Community Empowerment is working with LFRO to identify other communities in need where we may begin the process again. Peralta will serve as a great example of achievable global health outcomes.
- Babs Waldman