Poverty February 24, 2017 | 11:18 am

Batey Relief Alliance donates modern medical facility to Dominican Govt.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, February23, 2017. – As part of a new strategic plan for its program development agendaoverseas, the Batey Relief Alliance’s Board of Directors unanimously approvedin 2016 the handing over of the organization’s modern and fully-equippedmedical center to the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health. The price tag ofthe facility is more than US$402,000.00.

“The decision was made to reinforce BRA’sfirm commitment to support the Dominican government in its continuing effort toproviding quality health services to some of the country’s most impoverishedand abandoned populations living in difficult and health-deprived areas, mainlythe highly vulnerable sugarcane plantations rural batey communities,” saidUlrick Gaillard, BRA’s President and CEO.

In year 2000, the Dominican governmentrequested BRA’s support to help fill a life-threatening healthcare gap insidethe batey communities in the province of Monte Plata. In 2003, BRA responded byfirst installing a fully-equipped and staffed medical clinic, which followed bythe construction in 2006 of the only modern medical center ever built inside abatey since the start of sugar production in the Dominican Republic in year1517.

Funded by the Lions Clubs InternationalFoundation and the Clinton Foundation, the 15-consulting room mega medicalfacility, strategically sitting on a 1400 square meter-community complex insidebatey Cinco Casas, Municipal District of Don Juan, Monte Plata province,created more than 490 new jobs in the province; spurred new economicopportunities for young professionals and small businesses; and deliveredcomprehensive health and HIV/AIDS services to more than 35,000 patients eachyear.

During its 10-year operation, BRA spent morethan U.S $72 million; trained dozens of community health promoters; anddeveloped a unique Holistic Health Care approach to attend to the varioushealthcare needs of children and their families from more than 68 communities.

Each patient and his/her family that enteredthe center to receive medical consults, automatically received free testing andcounseling, medicines, multivitamins, Antiparasitic drugs, nutrition, cleandrinking water and preventive health education (water, hygiene, sanitation,sexually-transmitted infections, family planning, etc.) to complete theirprimary care and HIV treatment (pediatrics, gynecology, general medicine,antiretroviral therapy, mammogram, Pap Smear, child vaccination, etc.).

All patients also had the options to receivecomplete vision care with prescription eyeglasses and dental care.

“Such comprehensive intervention guaranteedthat each patient will eventually become healthy and fit to attend school andbecome productive for his/her family, community or society,” added Gaillard.

The facility also has a fully-equippedlaboratory, dental clinic, ophthalmology clinic, emergency room, and arecently-built ambulatory surgery clinic. Other amenities include waiting andmeeting rooms, conference and medical archive areas, clean drinking systems,parking and a garden.

“While BRA will no longer provide directhealth services as part of its program repertoire, it will, however, continueto use its unique holistic approach model by supporting a number of clinics andhospitals operated by some of its key local partners to ensure that patients doreceive comprehensive health services,” concluded Gaillard.

BRA pledged to accompany the Dominicangovernment during its management of the newly-acquired medical center, shouldthe authorities accept the offer, by complementing the medical attention withsome of its ongoing donor-funded programs, including food security, deworming,micronutrients, clean drinking water, agriculture, preventive health education,etc.

Founded in New York in 1997, BRA is anon-for-profit, humanitarian aid organization dedicated to addressing thesocio-economic and health needs of children and their families severelyaffected by extreme poverty, disease and hunger in Latin America and theCaribbean, particularly in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Peru. BRA is a memberof the Clinton Global Initiative; and holds Special Consultative Status withthe United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).