Community Overview: Las Matas de Farfán is located in the province of San Juan, approximately 15 miles from the Haitian border and the same distance from the capital of the province. Its population of 245,377 is a mix of Haitian immigrants and Dominican natives that support themselves through agriculture. It is difficult to maintain a consistent income with this type of work, and as a result the poverty rate in the province of San Juan is almost double the national rate. It is unsurprising, given the extreme poverty in the area, that the infant mortality rate in San Juan is 36 per thousand live births, compared with the national rate of 32 per thousand.
Service Area Population: Approximately 60,000 people.
Project Partner: The Daughters of Charity and the Federico Aybar Hospital
The Daughters of Charity serve the poor and marginalized in many different types of ministry such as healthcare, social services, teaching, counseling, prisons, and many other ministries. They have a deep passion for changing the world one person at a time. In the U.S. the Daughters founded what has become the largest non-profit health system in the country. They are an international community of over 19,000 women in more than 90 countries.
Project Overview: Medicines for Humanity works with the Daughters of Charity (DOC) and with the Frederico Aybar Hospital in Las Matas, managed by the Ministry of Health (MOH). In order to have the largest impact on child mortality, we focus on providing the best care possible to pregnant women, new mothers, and infants throughout the pregnancy and the first year of life. Hence the project name “Strong Mothers, Strong Babies.”
The overall 5-year project goal is to significantly reduce infant mortality, and to build the capacity of the health system in Las Matas de Farfán to maintain or reduce this rate further following the conclusion of the project. Stronger infants will also mean a lower mortality rate for children under five years. Working in collaboration with the MOH and the DOC, two of this project’s major components are to provide training and support for hospital and clinic personnel and to strengthen the corps of community health workers.