MMI in Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean region on the island of Hispaniola. Hispaniola is divided into 2 sovereign states, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The Dominican Republic has been at the heart of MMI’s work since the founding of our ministry in 1969 after the Christian Medical Society (MGM) project in Puerto Plata in 1968. John and Sheila Shannon, local DR Plymouth Brethren missionaries from Canada provided leadership until 1984. Willie and Janice Hunter, Evangelical Mennonite Church missionaries in DR, began assisting the Shannon’s in the early 1970’s in the DR and many other countries.

Teo Beato, M.D. and his wife Frida Luna, M.D. are National Directors of the Dominican Republic. Teo started working at Elias Santana Center and they attended their first project as volunteers in February 1987.

Alex Ramirez serves as Project Director in Dominican Republic and contributes greatly in MMI's works providing health care to poor areas.

                       Dr Teo Beato and Dr Frida Luna

                     Dr Teo Beato and Dr Frida Luna

            Alex Ramirez

          Alex Ramirez

Through our one and two week projects many have been trained by our faithful leaders Drs. Teo Beato and Frida Luna, carrying our mission to many of the other countries where MMI is located today. Our vision for the future is that the work will not only continue to serve the poor in the DR, but also serve as a bridge for volunteers and leaders to ultimately serve those in need in other locations.

Project Sites:

Dajabon


Dajabón is the capital city of the Dajabón province in the Dominican Republic. Dajabón is located on the Dajabón River on the border with Haiti. It is a market town with a population of about 40,000. The city was initially founded between 1771 and 1776, but was soon after abandoned during the War of Independence. It was settled again shortly after the Restoration War in 1865.

* Project Description: At the clinic site, the teams provide medical consults and screenings for surgical patients. Patients are referred to the hospital for surgical procedures, dentistry, integrated health education, and optometry. All services provide opportunities for team members to sensitively demonstrate and share their faith in partnership with local believers. In the local Hospital, we provide the surgical services according to the different volunteer’s specialty. The promotion of project services is done through the local Churches, hospital staff, local radios, and channels.

Elevation
35m (115 ft)

Climate
The average February temperature ranges from a high of 30 °C (86°F) to a low of 18°C (64°F)
Average min and max temperatures in San Fernando de Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic

Las Matas de Farfan


Las Matas de Farfán is a town in the San Juan Province of Dominican Republic. It is the birthplace of a number of current and former Major League Baseball players including Jean Segura, Juan Encarnacion, Roberto Novoa, Odalis Perez, Ramón Santiago, and Valerio de los Santos.

It is located in the middle of the west end of the Island, approximately 4 hours by bus from Santo Domingo. The population is approximately 40,000 people. Most people work in agriculture, making a daily wage of 20 – 25 dollars on average. Many move from the countryside to the cities for more job opportunities, usually in public transportation of small motorcycles. There is great need in this area as many people face problems such as few job opportunities and a lack of health insurance.

* Project Description: At the clinic site, the teams provide medical consults (including general consults, pediatric, dermatology, internal medicine, screen surgical patients, and refer them to the hospital for surgery), dentistry, integrated health education, and optometry.

Elevation
450 m (1,477 ft)

Climate
It is a dry area. The average March temperature ranges from a high of 33°C (91°F) to a low of 17°C (63°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Constanza, Dominican Republic

Monte Plata


Monte Plata was founded by residents of the towns of Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata, whose destruction was ordered by the king of Spain and carried-out by Antonio Ozorio, Governor of the Island. The name was created as a combination of the names of the two cities. Monte Plata possesses a wealth of folkloric elements and rich culture. Some of its best-known cultural elements are its folk songs, folk dances, oral and written traditions, historic monuments, and popular folk beliefs.

In Monte Plata, a large population of people do not have the resources to travel even to the nearest hospital as transportation to and from the rural areas is expensive. Medical services are limited.

* Project Description: Teams work in the local hospital to serve a community of approximately 15,000 people. Teams work with the local hospital staff (approx. 150 people) and local churches. It is a nice building with two floors. It has surgery on the 2nd floor, an elevator, approximately 60 beds, three ORs, and one delivery room. The MOH offers general consults, pediatric, Ob-Gyn, Internal Medicine, surgery, and so on. When there is a complicated case, patients are referred to a larger hospital in Santo Domingo.

Elevation
56 m (184 ft)

Climate
It could be humid, raining, muddy and chilly in the mornings, etc. January - Average Temperature 24°C (75°F) High 30°C (85°F), Low 19°C (66°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Mendoza, Dominican Republic

Nagua & Cabrera


Nagua, a medium-sized town, is the capital of María Trinidad Sánchez province in northeastern Dominican Republic. Nagua's economy relies on the production of agricultural products including rice, coconuts, and cocoa bean. Most of the town lies below sea level.

* Project Description: Teams work in the local hospital, Cabrera, to serve a community of approximately 15,000 people. Teams work with the local hospital staff (approx. 60 people) and local churches. It is a small building with two floors. It has one OR, 25-30 beds, and one delivery room. The MOH offers general consults, pediatric, Ob-Gyn, Internal Medicine, surgery, and so on. When there is a complicated case, patients are referred to a larger hospital in Nagua or San Francisco de Macoris.

Elevation
3m (10 ft)

Climate
Nagua has a tropical wet climate, with no dry or cold season as it is constantly moist. Average temperature for January is a High of 29°C (84.2°F) to a Low of 20°C (68°F). The team will be working in a tropical area, so, it could be humid, raining, muddy and chilly in the mornings.
Average min and max temperatures in Nagua, Dominican Republic

Palenque


Palenque is located at the coast of the Caribbean Sea near San Cristóbal. It is divided into Sabana Grande de Palenque and two districts: Sabana Palenque and Juan Barón. It has some of the most popular beaches among the locals, but is generally not considered one of the major tourist destinations of the country.

* Project Description: At the clinic site, teams provide normal medical consults, dentistry, integrated health education, and optometry. In the local hospital, teams provide the surgical services according to the different volunteer’s specialty (General surgeries, OB GYN, reconstructive plastic surgeries, orthopedic, and so on).

Elevation
300m (984 ft)

Climate
Average temperature for October is a High of 28°C (80°F) to a Low of 20°C (68°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Baní, Dominican Republic

Rio San Juan


Rio San Juan is a relaxed and calm town, which is distinctive because of its location on a mangrove lagoon, only an hour east of Cabarete.

* Project Description: In the local Hospital, teams provide the surgical services according to the different volunteer’s specialty (General surgeries, OB GYN, reconstructive plastic surgeries, orthopedic, and so on). There are dentistry and optometry components. The promotion of project services is done through the local Churches, hospital staff, local radios, and TV channels.

Elevation
5 m (16 ft)

Climate
Average Temperature 24°C (75°F) High 30°C (85°F), Low 19°C (66°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Río San Juan, Dominican Republic

Sabana de la Mar


The community of Sabana de la Mar is located in the eastern area of Dominican Republic. The economy of the inhabitants is based on agriculture and fishing. Located in Samaná Bay, Sabana de la Mar is one of the most beautiful areas in this country. The population is approximately 30-40,000 people.

* Project Description: At the clinic site, teams provide normal medical consults, dentistry, integrated health education, and optometry. In the local Hospital, teams provide the surgical services according to the different volunteer’s specialty (General surgeries, OB GYN, reconstructive plastic surgeries, orthopedic, refraction, and so on).

Elevation
3m (10 ft)

Climate
The average August temperature ranges from a high of 26°C (79°F) to a low of 19°C (66°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Sabana Dela Mar, Dominican Republic

Sabana Grande de Boya


This is one of the areas of highest need in the country. It is inhabited predominantly by Haitians, who are most often ex-sugar cane workers. These people are commonly elderly, unemployed, and lack health insurance.

Many people's livelihood in is agriculture, and a days salary is approximately 15 – 20 dollars on average. Many people move from the countryside to the city for better job opportunities, usually in public transportation of small motorcycles. Most people do not have health insurance. In Sabana rural areas, there are many elderly people and children, but not many young adults to work and help with the ones that remain.

* Project Description: The team will work in the local hospital belonging to the Social Security System. It is a small building in relatively poor condition. The hospital has one OR, approximately 20 beds, and no running water. The hospital does not have a generator, so it depends on the local electricity which is very unpredictable. The hospital is in need of good, working equipment as it has equipment either in need of repair or unused due to a lack of operation training. At the clinic site, teams provide normal medical consults, dentistry, integrated health education, and optometry. In the local Hospital, teams provide the surgical services according to the different volunteer’s specialty (General surgeries, OB GYN, reconstructive plastic surgeries, orthopedic, and so on).

Elevation
291m (954 ft)

Climate
The average temperature for the month of July is a high 89°F (32°C) & a low 71°F (22°C)
Average min and max temperatures in Los Guineos Perdidos, Dominican Republic

San Jose de las Matas


San Jose de las Matas is a community located in the middle of the country, about 550 meters above the sea level, with a population of approximately 20,000 people. Most people earn a daily wage from agriculture. Many individuals move from the countryside to the city for better job opportunities, commonly in public transportation with small motorcycles. Much of the community struggles with the reality that there are limited job opportunities.

* Project Description: The team will provide services to people living with poverty in the communities of San Jose. Although the National Insurance program is offering better health care to the communities, there are still many patients that have trouble finding care for various reasons. The teams are divided into OR Teams and Medical Teams. The medical team goes into a different village each day. The OR team works in the local hospital (1 OR, 1 delivery room with approx. 30 beds) with the local staff and promote the health services to the community.

Elevation
523m (1,716 ft)

Climate
The average temperature for the month of June is typically a high of 33°C (91°F) and a low of 22°C (72°F).
Average min and max temperatures in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Villa Los Almacigos


This community is about 5 hours west of Santo Domingo. There are approximately 30,000 people living in Villa Los Almacigos. Most of the people earn a daily wage in agriculture.

* Project Description: The surgical team works in a local hospital with 1 OR, 1 delivery room, and about 20 beds. With MMI's involvement, patients in these communities hare given another option rather than needing to travel to large cities to get medical attention.

Elevation
202 m (663 ft )

Climate
Average temperature for November is a High of 28°C (80°F) to a Low of 20°C (68°F).
Average min and max temperatures in San Fernando de Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic

Travelling on a Project

Entry & Exit Requirements


Travelers must present a valid passport. Tourist visa is required at a cost of $10 USD. A departure tax of $20 USD is required.

• Americans: For more information see the US State Department website:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/dominican-republic.html

• Canadians: Please check the following website for the most current entry/exit requirements.
https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/dominican-republic

• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement updates.

Application Requirements


Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application.

• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists

• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)

• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).

• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.

Travel


Once you have been accepted on the project, you can contact our designated travel agency to arrange your travel and coordinate your arrival the team.

Raptim Humanitarian Travel: www.raptim.org

• US Applicants: Travel costs are arranged directly with the travel agent and are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.us@raptim.org
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).

• Canadian Applicants: Donations to MMI for travel are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “We Partner” team: wepartner.na@raptim.org
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie (ext. 31771).

• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.

Immunizations


We strongly recommend that you consult a travel clinic, as they are aware of outbreaks and can suggest preventative immunizations. All routine immunizations should be up-to-date. Please check the following website for the most current information.

• Americans: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/dominican-republic

• Canadians: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/countries-pays/country-pays-engfedf.php?id=325

Accommodations and Meals


MMI will arrange local accommodations for the team.
• Some projects will have dormitory-style accomodations
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC: dependent on location
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive
• Wifi/Internet: dependent on locations
• Voltage: 110V.
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied. If you would like to bring snacks to have throughout the day, please bring items such as peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix or pretzels and crackers in sealable containers (like Ziploc bags).

Culture

• Language: Spanish.
• Religion:
- Roman Catholic: 95%
- Others: 5.0%
• Government: Presidential Republic

Currency


The money in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP). MMI staff will help you exchange money. All major credit cards are accepted - Visa and MasterCard the most widely accepted (make sure to call your credit card company and let them know that you’ll be traveling internationally). Traveler’s cheques are not easily cashed. You must bring US dollars in good condition. Torn, stamped or old bills will not be exchanged. $100 bills older than 2006 are also not accepted.

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Centro Cristiano de Servicios Medicos of Honduras (CCSM)

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MMI supports health centers to increase access to affordable, quality health care. While centers are largely self-supporting, MMI assists with specific needs for land, buildings, renovations, equipment, and training, as able. Health Centers have Independent Boards of Directors who maintain oversight of local administrators, doctors, and staff to ensure compliance with local legal requirements. MMI supports Residency Training Programs to expand the skills of international doctors with the goal of improving accessibility in their home countries.

 Janice Hunter - General Director, CCSM              Willie Hunter - Chairman, CCSM

Janice Hunter - General Director, CCSM              Willie Hunter - Chairman, CCSM

               Nicole Hunter Diaz                            Administrator, CCSM

              Nicole Hunter Diaz                            Administrator, CCSM

The Elias Santana Hospital was established in 1984 in los Alcarrizos outside Santo Domingo with generous donations after hurricane David of 1979. MMI Canada continues to support programs at the Elias Santana Hospital. Graduates from the Ophthalmology Residency Training program have returned to their countries to serve those in need, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Ethiopia, and India.

About Dominican Republic

COUNTRY BACKGRound

The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Great Antilles archipelago between the Caribbean region and North Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Haiti on the east and consists mostly of rugged mountains with fertile valleys. The government system is a democratic republic; the chief of state and head of government is the president. The Dominican Republic has a mixed economic system which includes a variety of private freedom, combined with centralized economic planning and government regulation.

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION:

Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti

GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:

19 00 N, 70 40 W

MAP REFERENCES:

Central America and the Caribbean

 

LAND BOUNDARIES:

TOTAL:

376 km

BORDER COUNTRIES:

Haiti 376 km

COASTLINE:

1,288 km

MARITIME CLAIMS:

12 nautical miles

 

CLIMATE:

Tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall

TERRAIN:

Rugged highlands and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys

ELEVATION EXTREMES:

LOWEST POINT:

Lago Enriquillo - (-46) m

HIGHEST POINT:

Pico Duarte - 3,175 m

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