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Batey Relief Alliance (BRA)’S 2003 HEALTH CARE MISSION

Batey Relief Alliance (BRA)’S 2003 HEALTH CARE MISSION 11 May, 2003

As part of its annual ten-day health mission trips to the Dominican Republic, the Batey Relief Alliance (BRA), co-sponsored by the BRA Dominicana, from May 2-10 provided emergency care to more than 2800 impoverished residents languishing in batey Cruce de la Jagua in the province of Monte Plata, and 36 other surrounding batey communities. “The purpose for our missions is to involve every sector of the society in a strategic partnership with the goal of improving the quality of life for those who are marginalized, poor and unhealthy without regards to race, sex, creed, national origin or political affiliations,” said BRA’s medical director, Dr. Raymond Thertulien.

BRA received close to $2 million in donated drugs, medical supplies and equipment from the Direct Relief International and the Catholic Medical Mission to support the mission and the organization’s long-term health care intervention in the country. More than 50 health providers from the United States, Spain and Great Britain worked along-side Dominican and Haitian health professionals to deliver care that is culturally and medically oriented to the population. Strategic and operational support came from BRA’s key partners such as the Dominican’s Ministry of Health (SESPAS) and the State Sugar Council (CEA), the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE), BRA’s local member organizations (Cotedo, SSID, Alas de Igualdad, Idac, Moschta, Adoplafam and Fudersa), the Monte Plata National Guard, the United States Embassy Peace Corps and the Community Association of Batey Cruce de la Jagua.

Patients received attention in the areas of internal medicine, family care, tropical medicine, pediatrics, gynecology (PAP smears), dentistry – and preventive health education. To complete their short-term treatment, patients received a three-month free supply of medicines and vitamins, tooth pastes and brushes, hygienic materials, etc. Cases that required long-term attention were referred to BRA’s mobile health clinic and other affiliated government-run health facilities. As part of the organization’s policy, BRA distributed desperately needed drugs and supplies to its member organizations, the SESPAS & CEA, Haiti’s Consulate and others to help address the health needs of those who were not able to visit the mission site, who live in other impoverished communities or to provide follow-up care.

Part of BRA’s humanitarian health objectives is to provide complete health care to 30% of the batey population by year 2007 through its mobile health clinic, medical missions, placement of volunteers, distribution of drugs and supplies and its medical care center to be constructed in 2004. Your donation is critical to the sustainability of our programs. Please help by clicking on our DONATE NOW button at

BRA’s mobile clinic provides life saving health care to bateyes of Monte Plata
Since May 2003, BRA has been operating a 30-foot mobile health clinic, stationed at batey Altagracia, District of Sabana Grande de Boya, in the province of Monte Plata, Dominican Republic. The clinic is currently providing critical care in the areas of internal Medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry, blindness prevention and preventive health education. Two volunteers from the United States are providing their long-term services – Dr. Alan Kerr and Julie Brokmeyer (nurse). They are joined by local health care providers from the Dominican’s State Sugar Council (CEA) and the Ministry of Health (SESPAS). The mobile project is designed to bring sustainable care those who are marginalized, and often unable to access public health care due to racial discrimination, poverty or fear of deportation. BRA is looking for volunteers to provide direct care, assist in health care delivery, or perform administrative or general tasks. Please apply today by contacting BRA’s Executive Director, Ulrick Gaillard at

BRA starts Blindness Prevention Project
Thanks to a generous grant from the Riverside Church in New York, BRA is now restoring and protecting vision for dozens of residents in the bateyes through its Blindness Prevention Program. The program entails the training of local health promoters and teachers to do eye screenings on children and adults. Cases of basic eye problems are referred each week to our volunteer optometrist who performs other tests or prescribes eye glasses. Sunglasses are also donated to patients. Cases of cataracts or glaucoma that require surgeries are awaiting attention from ophthalmologists. Many children and adults in the bateyes and other urban living sectors are rapidly losing their eye sights due to poor diet, unprotected exposures to sun glare or diseases. Most cannot afford a pair of eye glasses or treatment because of poverty. As a result, generations of these individuals will lose their chance of going to school, learning new professional skills and becoming productive for their families and communities. BRA’s Blindness Prevention Program will help reverse that possibility with other donations like the Riverside Church’s. Your support is critically needed as it will help a child see so that he/she can play and learn like other children. We also need volunteer ophthalmologists and optometrists to perform eye surgeries and to provide care. For a donation or volunteer opportunity, please contact Ulrick Gaillard at or (917) 627-5026. The BRA’s Blindness Prevention Program has also been funded by the Federal Association Order of Malta, Lions Clubs International, the New Jersey Lions EyeGlass Recycling Center and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

BRA and VOSH to hold eye care mission to the bateyes in January 2004
As part of its Blindness Prevention Program, BRA will sponsor with the Chicago-based Volunteer Optometrists for Service of Humanity (VOSH) an eye-care mission trip to be held from January 17-24, 2004 in the bateyes located in the province of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. More than 22 optometrists, faculty and students will work along-side local lions club members and optometrists affiliated with the Batey Relief Alliance to provide care and eye glasses to more 2000 needy residents. Dr. Gary Blackman, founder of the group, said, “I have been to the Dominican Republic in the past and seen the critical eye care needs. I am excited to be back and to bring help.” Eye surgeries will also be performed for cases of cataract or glaucoma. “It is always a pleasure of working with a VOSH group. BRA’s eye care success in the Dominican Republic is due, in part, to past positive experiences with VOSHs all around the United States,” said BRA’s Executive Director, Ulrick Gaillard. Support the mission by making a money donation on line at

Dr. Jose Pena Gomez’s widow, Peggy Cabral, discussed collaboration with BRA
Peggy Cabral, widow of the late Dominican political figure Dr. Jose Pena Gomez, met in July in Santo Domingo with BRA’s Executive Director, Ulrick Gaillard to discuss the possibility of establishing a working partnership with her office, El Gabinete Social. The high level meeting was arranged by the State Sugar Council’s Chief, Victor Manuel Baez, who was also present to inform Ms. Cabral of BRA’s positive collaborative humanitarian efforts in the country since 1998. “We seek to work with all parties that are interested in helping to develop the human capacity for those who are in need,” said Gaillard. Preliminary discussions were held around health care and nutrition. “Since its inception, BRA has demonstrated a unique ability to develop strong partnerships various sectors to successfully carry out its mission. We look forward to do the same with the Gabinete Social,” added Gaillard.

Batey Relief Alliance and BRA Dominicana have new office in the DR
The new office is centrally located in the heart of Santo Domingo – Piantini – and is designed to provide both the Batey Relief Alliance and BRA Dominicana a space of operation. Staff, volunteers and associates will have access to computers, the Internet, books and other materials to do research and perform organizational tasks. An Executive room has also been created to hold meetings and organizational conferences.

Pay us a visit anytime at:

BRA Dominicana & Batey Relief Alliance
Winston Churchill, No.71, Suite 212
Edificio Lama, Piantini
Apartado postal 5085
Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana
Tel.: (809)540-4947, Fax: (809)540-0786, Email: