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  • Aiden Fiterstein

One World Surgery Medical Mission - Dominican Republic


DO YOU KNOW THAT FIVE BILLION PEOPLE LACK ACCESS TO SURGERY? 




One World Surgery "OWS" is a nonprofit organization addressing the global health crisis by collaborating with communities, healthcare professionals, and healthcare leaders to provide surgical and general medical services. OWS's vision is to create a world where safe, timely, and accessible surgical and primary care are available to all. One World Surgery currently operates in the Dominican Republic (DR) and Honduras (HN).


What a privilege and honor to work as a volunteer with One World Surgery, supporting the Batey El Soco, a community outside of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. I participated in several medical missions to the Bateyes: Esperanza, Olivares, Higuamo, La Parcela, and Comunidad H3, providing access to much-needed healthcare services. My Spanish proficiency proved beneficial, enabling me to conduct patient intake procedures and prepare individuals for surgery or general medical care. However, I recognize the necessity to learn Creole for my senior patients. Additionally, I undertook tasks such as sorting medications, ophthalmology testing, and setting up pop-up clinics within the respective local communities. Moreover, I participated in training programs aimed at educating local healthcare providers on diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and the need for vaccinations.


One World Surgery has conducted over 40 medical missions; serving 20,000 patients; providing 19,000 patient consults; and 17,000 surgeries since last year (2023). I feel deeply moved by the opportunity to help and return to support these people. Their resilience and strength inspires me!



Information on the Batey El Soco

Haiti's troubled past of political instability, coups, corruption, and poverty has led many Haitians to seek refuge in neighboring Dominican Republic; specifically the Batey El Soco area. However, this influx has strained the Dominican Republic's resources and infrastructure, worsening existing socio-economic challenges. Organizations like One World Surgery offer hope by addressing their healthcare needs.


Many Bateyes reside in small rural communities predominantly populated by Haitian migrant /refugees working in the sugar industry despite mechanization and job losses. These communities on the island of Hispaniola have high levels of poverty and limited access to basic services such as clean water, education, healthcare, and infrastructure.




Agriculture plays a vital economic role in Batey El Soco rural areas. Residents engage in farming activities, cultivating crops like sugarcane, plantains, yucca, and others, both for sustenance and commercial purposes.



Batey El Soco's population is less than 4,300 people...

Historically, many Bateyes are predominately Haitian populations and are primarily agricultural communities. Communities like Batey El Soco often have limited access to clean water, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and sanitation facilities compared to other urban areas. This lack of infrastructure can impact the well-being and quality of life of residents and its population in these communities.



Houses

The houses are made of traditional materials such as wood, palm leaves, and thatch may be used in constructing roofs. However, concrete blocks, cement, steel, and corrugated metal sheets are also commonly used in more modern construction. Walls may be constructed using wooden frames filled with wattle and daub (a mixture of mud, clay, and straw). In modern construction, concrete block walls are prevalent due to their durability and resistance to weather and pests.



Food

The Batey El Soco communities grow plantain and yuka along with other fruits and vegetables and maintain livestock. So the cuisine is often filled with Tostones (twice-fried plantains - left pic) and Cassava (either fried or boiled yuka - middle pic) along with Empanadas (fried pastries filled with meat, cheese or vegetables - right pic). Meat (beef, chicken, pork) is eaten along with fish.


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