Today was our third day in the Dominican Republic. We started our day in the public health center called Servicio Regional de Salud Nordestre. Here we learned about the Kangaroo care program.
The Kangaroo care program is a public health initiative that was instituted in the Dominican Republic hospital setting in 2009. The program teaches mothers how to provide skin to skin contact to the baby for 24 hours. Babies receive this care up until their 40th week of gestation. Since the institution of this program, the Infant Mortality Rate has decreased significantly in the Dominican Republic.
The Kangaroo care program was first designed in Columbia by Dr. Edgar Reyes Sanabria. Nurses from the Dominican Republic traveled to Columbia to become trained to teach Kangaroo care.
After lunch, we divided into smaller groups to work in various units of the hospital. Some of the units included the Emergency room, the NICU, the maternity ward, and the pediatric floor. Students in the maternity ward provided comforting techniques to assist mothers in labor. Students in the pediatric floor utilized developmentally appropriate techniques to comfort children in pain. One student made a balloon out of a glove which was very calming and therapeutic for the child.
After returning from our experience in the hospital, we reflected on the many resources available in American hospitals in comparison to the Dominican Republic hospital. Many of the nurses in the Dominican Republic were very resourceful. We observed a nurse using a glove as a tourniquet to wrap around the patient’s arm when inserting an IV. Little things like this are simple things that nurses in America may sometimes take for granted.
Tonight the nursing students are separating prenatal vitamins and Tylenol to provide for the community tomorrow. We can’t wait for another exciting and heart warming experience in San Francisco de Marcoris.