HHI News & Updates: April 2017
Strengthening the Health System: Diabetes and Hypertension Prevention and Treatment

In partnership with the Ministry of Public Health of the  Dominican Republic and the World Diabetes Foundation , we are excited to announce our ne w es t initiative to improve primary health care and prevention services for diabetes and hypert ension. Beginning in August 2017, HHI will embark on a three-year journey to achieve five ambitious goals across the provinces of Puerto Plata, Espaillat, and Santiago:
  1. Evaluate the current state of diabetes and hypertension risk factors, diagnoses, and access to treatment.
  2. Train and support physicians and nurses who work on the front lines of primary health care centers to provide high quality integrated care to patients, including through connections with community health workers.
  3. Strengthen supervision and monitoring systems for chronic disease management programs, through technical assistance at the National Division of Chronic Disease and working directly with health center administrators and supervisors.
  4. Promote prevention through focused interventions for high-risk groups, including our Sano y Feliz program, and education campaigns to reach broader populations.
  5. Work with three primary care centers in the Puerto Plata province to establish Centers of Excellence for diabetes and hypertension treatment, management, and prevention.
This work will build on the success of our two-year collaboration  w ith the Ministry of Public Health and PSI/SFH of Santo Domingo, also gene rously supported by the World Diabetes Foundation. Since starting this first project in 2014, our team and partners have developed comprehensive diabetes management guides and protocols, trained over 50 physicians, 20 nurses, and 60 community health workers, screened over 4,000 individuals for diabetic  risk factors and connected over 2,000 to a primary care provider, and implemented a monitoring and supervision system in 12 primary health care centers and 3 hospitals across the Puerto Plata province to enhance quality and continuity of care.

Our next-phase project advances the objectives of the National Division of Chronic Disease, whose strategic plan centers on fighting diabetes and other chronic diseases by improving quality and access to primary health care. The plan makes the case that by focusing on prevention, quality, and supervision and follow-up at the primary care level, it is possible to improve health indicators across the general population, especially in communities affected by poverty. Through this close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, we at HHI are excited to continue bringing our insights from seven years of on-the-ground health programs in Montellano to reach even more communities, and to promote the importance of evidence-based programs and policies. We are committed to partnering with the local health system to strengthen its capacity to deliver results for the people of the Dominican Republic.
International Collaboration: HHI and Hospital Maternidad Dolores de la Cruz

In January, we welcomed a dedicated group of Family Physicians and Physician Assistant students to volunteer alongside our partner physicians at the Hospital Maternidad Dolores de la Cruz in Montellano. 

Over four days in-clinic, the team consulted with nearly 180 patients from surrounding communities, including 120 from HHI's Chronic Care Program (CCP). Through this pioneering program, patients diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension are paired with a community health worker, who supports them in managing their condition and facilitates their connection to the local health system for treatment. Our tri-annual medical service trips have served as a check-up for our CCP patients since the program started in 2010. Since 2015, we have been thrilled to collaborate with Maternidad Hospital, giving our patients the opportunity to receive care directly at the health center, and medical professionals from Maternidad and HHI's volunteer teams the chance to engage in knowledge and practice sharing.

In addition to working on-site at the hospital, the medical service team conducted home visits for patients whose conditions prevent them from traveling from the bateyes and rural mountains. Guided by HHI's Clinical Programs Coordinator, Dr. Maria Pou, volunteers rotated each day to visit a total of 19 patients in Pancho Mateo, Negro Melo, and Severet. Between in-clinic consults and home visits, the team identified 24 patients in serious need of specialist follow-up, surgery, or other referral care. In the weeks to come, Dr. Pou and our Clinical Programs Assistant, Willy Destin, accompany these and other patients in HHI's Referral Program to ensure continuity and access to care.

Thank you to our dedicated physician volunteers - Dr. Anne Brewer, Dr. Andrew Ropp, Dr. Stacy Thomas, Dr. Craig Czarsty (HHI Board Chair), and Dr. Brad Wilkinson (HHI Board Vice Chair), all of whom have given generously of their time and talent for many years. We are also grateful to the Quinnipiac University Physicians Assistant Program, whose first-year students were indispensable as always, including in their fundraising efforts to support the follow-up care our patients will receive. Finally, we thank the Hospital Maternidad Dolores de la Cruz leadership and administration, especially Director Dr. Luis Hiraldo, and the physicians who participated with our team - Dr. Escarramán and Dr. Marte - for their enthusiasm and dedication to this partnership.
Meet Our Team!

Whether they started out as community health workers, or joined our team after working in other health sector organizations, the HHI staff brings diverse experiences and talents to our programs and operations in the Dominican Republic. Meet the people who make Horizontes de Salud tick by checking out their profiles here!
Now Recruiting: Executive Director

The search for our next Executive Director is under way! Excellent candidates will have a passion for global health and community development, expertise in partnering with communities and institutions, and the leadership skills to drive growth as a community-based, nationally influential organization. Check out the job description and help us spread the word!
Our mission is to improve community health in the Dominican Republic. Through building local capacity for public health and strengthening the primary health care system, we work to promote well-being and access to quality health care.
Health Horizons International Foundation, Inc. |   www.hhidr.org