BARAHONA, Dominican Republic - “I hope the aid never ends,” said Arqu�mides Ferreras, a resident of Barahona, Dominican Republic, and English professor at the Catholic Technical University of Barahona, known as UCATEBA.
According to Ferreras, the medical assistance that the residents of Barahona received from the Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) at the Centro de Capacitaciόn Progresando Mar�a Auxiliadora from April 27 to May 1 (2014) is significant and appreciated by all.
"The training exercise, sponsored by U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army South and the government of the Dominican Republic, is a combined effort aimed to provide general and specialized medical services at no cost," said Cpl. John-Matthew Urby, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Information Support Operations (MISO) and a native of San Antonio, Texas.
Capt. Abraham Alvarenga, a native of Austin, Texas, and member of the 102nd Group Support Battalion, 71st Theater Information Group assigned to Task Force Larimar, visits the Barahona province on May 7, 2014. The Military Information Support Operations group interviewed members of the community regarding the general and specialized medical services they received at no cost during the annual bilateral humanitarian exercise known as Beyond the Horizon in their community. (Puerto Rico National Guard photo by Sgt. Wilma Orozco Fanf�n)
“This humanitarian mission will not succeed unless the community is correctly informed and is therefore able to actively participate in the initiative,” said Urby.
According to Urby, the mission of the MISO group is to inform the populace of what is going on in their town and prevent the spread of false information. If the populace is well-informed, they will come and receive the services.
As a result of the MISO efforts, more than 6,000 people found out about the exercise and received medical care in the areas of geriatrics, gynecology, dental, dermatology, ophthalmology, pediatrics and pharmaceutical services offered at the MEDRETE held in Barahona, said Urby.
Nevertheless, the MISO group returned to the community of Barahona where the services were offered to find out from the residents if the information and services offered in the exercise were accurate and appropriate for the community, said Urby.
“The results show that the populace is grateful, open and receptive to the initiative," said Urby. "Most of the residents received the information through the MISO elements and through the result of their efforts in disseminating about 1,000 flyers.”
In the Barahona community, the involvement of the Catholic Church in the process was important. The nuns collaborated by driving through the community with loudspeakers advising the residents of the event and by issuing flyers to the children at school to take home to their families, said Urby.
“I found out through my grandchildren who got the flyers at their school”, said Isabel Moreste Debai, a resident of Barahona, who received eyeglasses at no cost at the MEDRETE.
“The community is in need of help and medical assistance. Events like the one held here in Barahona are greatly appreciated,” said Ferreras.
“Some people are not able to afford a visit to a doctor at a medical facility, those who can, usually are not able to purchase the medicines that are prescribed to them”, said Ferreras.
“Being able to see the doctor and receive the medicines has been wonderful, said Josefina Beltr� Cuevas, a resident of Barahona who received medical attention and medication for high blood pressure at the MEDRETE. "The event should be repeated.”
By National Guard Sgt. Wilma Orozco Fanf�n
Provided through DVIDS
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