Before I start writing about this week, there are still a handful of things from the week before that I need to catch up on.
Last Tuesday (June 23), we spent the afternoon visiting private health centers in Santiago. The first hospital we visited was Unión Medica, a private clinic only a few minutes from the university. The atmosphere was completely different from that of the public hospitals. We were greeted by about seven PR/administration type people, who took us on a tour of the clinic in small groups. Unión Medica is quite large--it would be called a hospital in the US, but here it's called a clinic because it's private. They have inpatient floors, outpatient offices, multiple emergency rooms, two MRI machines (including an open one for bariatric/claustrophobic patients), advanced lab tests, and a rehab department. Unlike in the public system, they focus on providing technically advanced and specialized care for complex cases, and they place much less emphasis on primary care and prevention. They seemed to have many more nurses and support staff than the public hospital, and they also had a computerized medical records system. After the tour, they showed us a video about the hospital, the director of the clinic held a small Q&A, and served us snacks (again, totally different than the public hospitals). Although I'd like to have more information to compare quality of the medical care, not just the material resources, the visits emphasized the tremendous influence that socioeconomic status has on healthcare in the DR.
After visiting Unión Medica, we visited Hogar Crea, which is a private rehab clinic for men who have problems with drugs or alcohol. One of the men who is currently going through recovery gave us a presentation on the organization and its philosophy. It sounded like an admirable and successful program. Their approach seems similar to AA: different steps of recovery, acknowledging the influence of a higher power, self-examination, long-term dedication to staying clean, etc. Unfortunately, I missed a lot because I had a hard time understanding the presenter. Although my Spanish is getting a lot better, I still have a long way to go before I can fully comprehend street Dominican Spanish!
|Luz, Sabor, Vida, Color, Mezcla: words that describe the identity of the DR|
|The manglares from our trip to La Ensenada during Week 1|
|Painting by Yoryi Morel|