Since my last field report, I´ve had quite an exciting time here at my internship. Last week Mr. Collin Credle was visiting the Project HOPE offices here in Santo Domingo. Collin is responsible for the donation logistics and information in Central Asia and the Dominican Republic. At the start of the week we were able to tour one of the national donation centers that receives shipments from Project HOPE, PAI is a distribution center that works with the Ministry of Health here in the DR. It was amazing to be able to see the huge refrigerators that they have in order to keep the supplies ready until distribution. On Tuesday we visited a hospital that receives medicine in their pediatric division. That was definitely an eye-opening experience because that was the first time I had visited a hospital outside of the US. The hospital is currently undergoing some construction, they´re building a huge addition. However, aside from that, it was very different in terms of organization and how the hospital function from what I´m accustomed to in the States.
Wednesday was a holiday, so the clinic and office were closed and we had the day to ourselves, which was spent by visiting the historic Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo, where the first university, cathedral, and road are in the Americas. Thursday was another packed day where we visited a different hospital that receives Project HOPE donations. First on the agenda was a trip to a huge distribution and storage center that houses the donations received for the Order of Malta from Project HOPE. We met with the nuns and Damas, or Ladies, of the Order who are responsible for managing the donations once they are received. The hospital that we visited after was a stark contrast to the first; it was much more organized and seemed better equipped to serve the surrounding population. Later on in the afternoon we returned back to the office to do some clerical work and ordering for donations. I worked with Dr. Caraballo, who is responsible for selecting the donations that will be shipped in the cargo shipments from the states to the DR. Dr. Caraballo was with us throughout the week, since he´s responsible for the logistics and donation aspect of the local extension of Project HOPE. On Friday we were able to visit the Ministry of Health, which was quite similar to the health departments we have in the states. That afternoon we were taken to the construction site of the new clinic Project HOPE is building in another neighborhood, Haina, in Santo Domingo. The clinic will be much larger than the other one in Santo Domingo, with two floors, and a wider range of health services.
Throughout this week in our downtime, when it was available, we were helping our preceptor, Ms. Narvaez, get organized for her trip to the HOPE Center in Millwood, Virginia. This week she´ll be there attending a conference with the majority of the other country directors where Project HOPE serves. Each country was asked to have a poster that presents their programs, photos, goals, etc. to better share information and provide a snapshot of how the country is doing.
This week my regular schedule was resumed. On Monday we were in the office working, then Tuesday through Thursday were spent at the clinic. On Tuesday I spent the morning working with Emmanuel, he´s responsible for the monitoring of the 5 Star Program that the clinic offers, unfortunately he was having some technical issues so I wasn´t able to learn as much as I wanted but I´ll be going back in next week. Wednesday and Thursday mornings I was in the lab, learning about the different tests that can be done at the clinic, how they´re done, etc. I was able to help with some of the tests, I performed several blood typing (though I wasn´t involved with obtaining the sample), HIV tests, pregnancy tests, and other routine screenings. This was really exciting to be involved in a way that was patient care and a critical aspect of the clinic services. Each afternoon I attended the Alerta Joven meetings and helped with Tuesday´s presentation specifically. The theme was Values, and the students had to choose from a wide range of offered positions and choose corresponding values that they believed.
I´m currently in the Project HOPE office today and will be working on preparing next week´s materials for the Alerta Joven Charlas. I feel good about the work I´ve done since my last Field Report, it´s hard to believe that next week is the half-way mark for our time here in the Dominican Republic.