X is for – Xray and Health

I want to take a moment to talk about healthcare in Dominican Republic.  The government provides its people with many medical social programs.  Unlike many countries, what is lacking most here is the desire from the public for preventative care.  The $$$ for prevention are far less expensive than the treating of disease when it hits.  Yet, they simply don’t go for their mammograms or other screening.  As a foreigner, this is a great country for medical services.  Most diagnostic facilities accept foreign referrals as well.  MRI’s under $350, mammograms under $25, bone density under $25, ultrasounds under $20 USD, x-rays under $20 … and soooooooo very many more who’s prices I have yet to research.  Free services that you can apply for, neo-natal intensive care, HPV vaccination programs, mental health programs, renal care/dialysis, diabetes, …  Essential medications that are virtually free through Promescal.  Most schools give the children de-parasitics for free.  They seem to all have parasites … ALWAYS.  Heaven forbid that the parents spend 1 peso per tablet for 3 tablets to treat their children!

When you think that a simple mammogram combined with a sono-mammogram can diagnose most breast cancers for under $45 it’s incredible that they simply don’t save the money  to save their lives.  Early diagnosis saves lives.  Early diagnosis can prevent the spread to other organs.  And they just don’t do it.  I think back to my dear friend and wonder, “had she been pro-active 5 years sooner, could her outcome have been different.”  No matter how much I try to encourage other women to get screened it falls on deaf ears.  I will keep trying.  Saving less than 200 pesos a month, that’s less than $5 a month over a year and they can be screened for breast cancer.  They can always find a way to save 200 pesos a month.  They have to want to.

The government provides healthcare cards to it’s citizens that don’t have private insurance through their work.  It’s not top of the line health care, but it is healthcare and it’s free.  And yet, they don’t go for the cards!

Part of the problem is that they don’t think of a future.  That, God will take them when he wants them … “si Dios quieres.”  Their faith is so strong.  They either don’t think or they forget that God’s greatest gift to them is not the gift of life so much as the gift of free will.  God GIVES them the ability to help themselves so HE will not have to bring them home (if that’s their belief).  It is what it is and it will be what it will be.  There is no common sense here at all.

Along the same lines, pregnancy rates are ridiculous in this country.  They simply wont spend 150 pesos a month for birth control.  That’s a whole $1 more that a jumbo beer!  And THAT they find the money for.  Somehow if needed they find a way to pay the 40,000 pesos for a c-section if they need one.  “But we love children,” they say.  Yes, they do, but most cannot afford children.  They cannot afford the clothing nor the food.  Then what do they do?  Pick their favourite and give that one the education?

This country continues to “blow my mind.”  If you have the opportunity to read 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez, please do so.  It seems to give the very feeling of what Dominican cultural behaviour is all about.  Though the story is fiction, it nails the spiritual and superstitious way of believing and living down to a T though a little animated.

Where common sense ends, the Dominican Republic begins …

Listen to the palms…


~Loca Gringa

© Loca Gringa and https://locagringa.wordpress.com

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