Medical Missions to the Dominican Republic

Our Association has been involved in the Dominican Republic Medical Missions since the late 1990’s. The Cuban Association has conducted two medical missions to the Dominican Republic each year. They are normally held during the last weekend in February and during the third weekend in September.

These missions have been organized by Drs. Jorge Echenique and José Joaquín Centurion, both Knights of our Association. The most recent missions held during the past twelve months, were composed of more than 60 participants each: doctors, nurses and volunteers (the largest group in our Missions) who together with a team of dentists, attended between the two visits to more than 2,300 patients during 4,600 clinical visits and performed 95 surgical procedures, all in the facilities at Hospital Manuel J. Centurion in ILAC, Licey al Medio.

The doctors were specialists in cardiology, pediatric neurology, urology, oncology, gastroenterology, pediatrics, infectious diseases, gynecology, anesthesiology, dentistry and internal medicine.

Medicines were given to patients who regularly are seen during the mission, besides providing them the necessary medicines for a period of 6 months afterward. All this effort represented more than $ 200,000 in drugs donated by our sponsors and doctors who traveled to the Dominican Republic.

 

In total, a group of 120 volunteers, including doctors, nurses and other collaborators made this medical effort, with the support of our brother Knights of the Dominican Association of the Order of Malta and our other community partners, the “Cooperadores de Salud” (health assistants). We also need to thank the Dominican Knights of Malta for their generous donations of medicines used during our trips, as well as Fundacion Divino Niño of the Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros for their continued support.

The Cuban Association normally visits the Manuel J. Centurion Medical Center in I.L.A.C.at Licey al Medio, in the Dominican Republic, serving a poor community not only during these medical missions, but with medicines and supplies which last during the intervals between visits every six months.

The Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) was founded by a group of Cuban Jesuits at Regis in Toronto in 1972. Fr. Ernesto Travieso, S.J. and Fr. Narciso Sanchez-Medio, S.J. brought the program to Creighton University in 1976. The purpose was to help other Jesuit, diocesan priests, and members of other religious communities from North America to get to know and understand the people and challenges of Latin America.

Since that time, ILAC has evolved in facilitating a group of programs, which continue to bridge the gap between North Americans and Dominicans. These have included the New York Eye and Ear institute, American Hernia Association, Creighton Physical Therapy, ENT operatives from Creighton and Miami, Internal Medicine operatives from Creighton and Pittsburgh.

During the last year, with the assistance of the doctors and volunteers of the Cuban Association, a new facility was built and inaugurated, an educational center at ILAC that focuses on assistance and mentoring for young schoolchildren of Licey al Medio. It will help the students to complete and understand the classes of the school day, many of whom lack assistance at home. La Escuelita has two rooms, maintains and provides computers for all students and is starting a music school.