Lifting the Health Burden on Isolated Communities

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Improve girls’ and women's health

posted Jan 8, 2014 by Isabel Garcia

Progress

Profamilia’s mobile health unit (MHU) visited 5 rural communities in Santo Domingo, reaching over 140 women with essential sexual and reproductive health services, like gynecological exams and cervical cancer screenings. Health promoters from each community received contraceptives to distribute during the time the MHU does not visit. This replenishment allows promoters to ensure their community’s needs are met. During each MHU visit, a nurse conducted educational sessions for community members that cover a range of topics, including family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted infection and unwanted pregnancies. Through these dynamic and interactive sessions, over 150 men, women, and young people received critical information about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Risks and challenges

The project has been progressing smoothly to date. However, the team at Profamilia is always monitoring their work and looking for feedback from the community, health promoters, and clients in order to improve their services and educational programs.

Up Close

Pedro Perez is health promoter in El Vigia, a small Haitian-Dominican town. To ensure a good turnout, he visits each house. “I tell them when the mobile health unit is coming and talk about family planning and STIs,” Pedro said. “Before, attendance wasn't good, but now so many attend that the doctor struggles to see everyone.” “All the women got ready," said Monica de Leon. "Here they attend to each person and treat us well.” Monica just learned the results from her pap smear were all good.

Next steps

Profamilia will continue to bring essential health services to vulnerable communities. In November, they will hold a training for health promoters from all the communities to further develop their knowledge and skills in sexual and reproductive health. The workshop also creates a space for promoters to talk about their experiences and share lessons learned. Following these activities, Profamilia will develop a work plan for the following 6 months to ensure that all project objectives are met.

Budget

Profamilia has used the funds to purchase contraceptives, condoms, and essential medications for the mobile health unit. These additional commodities were a huge benefit to the community, particularly since the government health centers and pharmacy posts have been experiencing shortages since the beginning of the year. Profamilia was able to increase the quantity of oral contraceptive pills, condoms, and injectables provided to the community promoters by almost 30%.

Line Items Projected budget Amount spent so far

Ambulance Rental

Laboratory/Pathology

Medical & Office Supplies

Staffing Costs (Doctors and Nurses)

Transportation and Administrative Services

Medications and Contraceptives

Per Diem for Field Staff

$7,400

$1,000

$500

$4,300

$1,850

$6,700

$1,000

$1,026

$140

$82

$0

$0

$6,700

$156

 

  • Family Planning
  • Health
  • Reproductive rights

Mobile health units bring health services to rural women in the Dominican Republic.

Why we care: Women living in isolated communities in the Dominican Republic have little to no access to family planning services and basic health care.

How we're solving this: Our mobile health unit will make 32 visits to 25 rural communities in the Dominican Republic to provide women with critical health information and services.

“If this project did not exist, there would be more women with cancer, more pregnant teenagers, more people with HIV.”

Leona Adolfo has worked as a nurse in Profamilia’s mobile health unit for more than three years. She travels to isolated communities throughout the Dominican Republic to ensure the most vulnerable have access to health care. In Abacao Batey, a community of mostly Haitian immigrants, more than 400 people live in wooden shacks without latrines.

“There are women here who are 18 years old and already have three kids, says Leona. “They don’t go to school or have a job. There are many cases of teenage pregnancy and violence.”

Mobile health units like Leona’s are crucial to reaching overlooked populations and providing them with quality care. They travel long distances on makeshift roads because they know people are waiting for them who cannot access a health care facility. Distance aside, many Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic can't receive basic medical care or treatment even in the case of extreme emergency.

As the leading nonprofit organization providing sexual and reproductive health services in the country, our local partner Profamilia is trusted by women for family planning services, reproductive health care, and counseling. Last year alone, the organization provided over 669,000 services – many of them for free to members of the community of Abacao.

“White, poor, rich, Dominican, Haitian, Haitian-Dominican, we are all human beings,” says Leona. “[At Profamilia,] everyone is treated in the same way.”

Your support will provide 32 mobile health visits to 25 communities in the provinces of Monte Plata, San Cristobal, and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The unit will provide sexual and reproductive health services – such as contraceptives, gynecological exams, and HIV testing – as well as educational workshops on topics like basic treatment for common infections, how to conduct a breast self-examination, violence prevention, and family planning.

Local leaders like Leona will also be trained as community health promoters to provide ongoing health education and empowerment activities.

Will you help lift the health burden from women in isolated communities?

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