At the end of October 2014, Sarah Korth, Gavin Korth, Drew Kondylas, Michael King, Brian Wishart, Kelly Stickney, Mike Lucivero, and Leila Kashani will be joining forces with Hope for Health’s Mary Benner in continued efforts to address the healthcare needs in the southwestern Dominican Republic. Mary runs nutrition clinics in Haiti, and trains mission groups to implement these clinics in areas of need, and will be generously donating her time to assist with the continued development of the Paraiso Project.
Since 2009, Sarah has worked closely with a local missionary priest and influential community leader, Stephane Jean, along with the help of global health graduate student, Cary Hilbert, to meticulously develop a program to address the significant health disparities of the communities around Paraiso in the southwestern Dominican Republic with the ultimate primary goal of self-sustainability. This remote area largely consists of poor Haitian immigrants who have little or no access to healthcare resources and education. The focus has remained on involving local stakeholders in assessing the communities’ needs and on creating sustainable changes by encouraging community members to become invested in reducing their own health disparities.
During this upcoming trip in October and November 2014, per the consensus decision of the local community members and leaders, we will implement our first all-out nutrition intervention. We will complete deworming in all 32 communities to decrease the pervasive malnutrition from parasites/worms due to contaminated water supply and poor sanitary practices. We will complete extensive health training of local representatives, give nutrition and sanitation education sessions in all communities, distribute seeds of the Moringa tree (a tree that proliferates on other areas of the island and is a studied and proven source of essential micronutrients), distribute supplemental micronutrients as we allow the trees time to grow, provide essential vitamins, dental supplies, as well as complete anemia and health screenings. It is an effort that involves the time and collaboration of many, has the potential to have enormous impact on the lives of these community members, and is one more step towards permanent and sustainable changes.