According to the Borgen Project, over 40% of the 10 million people living in the Dominican Republic live in poverty – and a staggering 10% are considered to be in extreme poverty.
Many families are working hard simply to survive, but even parents’ best efforts can’t always properly clothe and feed their children. Public healthcare is widely available, but every medical procedure, medication, and service comes at a cost, and for the average poor person, even the “free” government healthcare facilities aren’t really free.
For Dominicans who live in the area of San Juan de la Maguana, there is fortunately another option for healthcare – La Clínica Cristiana, established by Solid Rock International.
This clinic exists to provide local residents with not only general healthcare, but also with specialty services like surgery and dental care – services that most people would otherwise just have to go without.
Patients at the clinic receive discounted rates for service, and for those who cannot afford to pay at all, the clinic will waive the fees entirely. They are able to do this because of the support of generous donors, and teams of visiting volunteer physicians who provide specialty services at no cost.
Dr. Adam Keesling, a family physician from Kansas, has been serving as a volunteer physician with Solid Rock International since 2013, visiting the clinic regularly and providing care to as many patients as possible. He often brings medicine and medical supplies from MAP International to help support the work of the mission clinic.
During one of his recent trips to the Dominican Republic this year, he met an elderly gentleman named Emeterio. This patient had been dealing with severe swelling in both of his legs for many years, but had just found ways to cope with it and carry on with his life – seeking medical treatment would simply have been too expensive.
Over the past month, however, his left leg had developed a concerning ulcer – due, Dr. Keesling says, to a condition called venous stasis – inflammation that occurs when the valves in the legs are not working properly, making it difficult for blood to circulate from the legs back to the heart.
“We were able to treat the leg swelling and ulcer with medicine and medical supplies provided by MAP International,” reported Dr. Keesling. “Thank you!”
The medical mission team served 380 other patients like Emeterio during their visit, and were fortunate enough to have some MAP medicine and supplies left over that they could leave with the local staff at La Clínica Cristiana as they continue to serve their community faithfully.