Every year for seventy years or more, Haitian male workers cross the border to work the sugar fields in the Dominican Republic. The sugar industry in the area is no longer competitive, and when combined with the historical lack of educational and health services to these communities, the low wages have tended to make Bateys some of the poorest communities in the world.
International Medical Alliance of Tennessee has been working in these Haitian Bateys for more than 10 years. We, along with our partners at the Ogle Foundation, have dug wells to provide clean drinking water, and latrines to help improve sanitation and reduce the numbers of deaths in this population due to disease.
We have also sponsored schools and teachers in these Haitian Bateys.
Several of these Bateys are situated on the shore of a brackish water lake ( half salt water). The lake has begun rising as a result of the great deal of seismic activity surround the earthquake and the 33 aftershocks. The lake has risen and the brackish water has poisoned wells in three of the Bateys and has flooded one of the schools.
International Medical Alliance is working now to relocate 3 of the Bateys along with hundreds of the people that live in the Bateys. Since the earthquake IMA through the help of our donors has provided 6,000 pounds of Rice, 4,000 pounds of Beans, hygeine supplies, medicine and more.Many of our Haitian patients are malnourished and live in extreme poverty. Their dwellings are mud and wattle huts and they have neither clean water nor functional latrines. The children are infested with intestinal parasites and scabies and few are adequately vaccinated. This area has one of the highest maternal neonatal death rates in the world. The death rate due to neonatal tetanus is higher than most of the developing world with ninety reported deaths per year. All children are wormed at least semi annually and vitamins are given as needed to both children and to expectant and nursing mothers. Haitians are genetically predisposed to malignant hypertension which begins at an early age and is unrelated to body mass or activity. We attempt to accomplish stroke prevention in this population by supplying adequate medication to control the blood pressure in year supplies as well. All medications are labeled in Creole and pictorially as well if the patient cannot read or write.