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Malta volunteers tend to over 1,000 patients in Dominican Republic

Medical mission is one of three planned by Cuban Association this year

CORAL GABLES | The Cuban Association of the Order of Malta recently coordinated and sponsored a team consisting of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and volunteers on a medical mission to the Dominican Republic. The team of 70 traveled in February to the ILAC Center outside of Santiago, bringing with them several thousand pounds of medicine and surgical supplies to help over 1,000 patients.

The Cuban Association has conducted over 40 medical missions to the Dominican Republic since 2003.

This mission was led by Dr. Jose Centurion, hospitaller of the Cuban Association, and Dr. Jorge Echenique, director of Medical Missions. Their team consisted of physicians with expertise in cardiology, internal medicine, family practice, oncology, radiology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, plastic surgery, general surgery, adult and pediatric urology, and anesthesia.

The medical professionals attended to the health needs of 1,135 patients, many of whom saw two or three specialists over the course of four days. Over 90 ultrasonography studies and 73 distinct surgical procedures were performed by the Order’s volunteer radiologists and surgeons. Many cases involved pediatric urology and plastic surgery that otherwise would have gone untreated for lack of resources and experience, making a lasting impact on many young lives in the rural outskirts of Santiago.

Additionally, the Dominican Association of the Order contributed pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies to the mission. 

The medical missionaries from the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta relied heavily on logistical support from American Airlines. They also received spiritual guidance from Jesuit Father Ernesto Travieso of Miami. Stateside, dozens of volunteers helped pack medical supplies in anticipation of the journey, and multiple donations were collected at special events and via online campaigns.

From May 24-28, the Order will again travel to the Dominican Republic for follow-up care. The summer mission will be led by Dr. Frank Gaudio. A full medical and surgical mission, similar in scale to the one in February, will be conducted from Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

As the world’s oldest Catholic chivalric and humanitarian lay order, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law, allowing it to operate similar missions and provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief around the globe due to its extensive diplomatic activities. 

For information on how to participate or to make a contribution, contact the Communications Office of the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta at 786- 888-6494 or visit www.ordendemaltacuba.com or www.orderofmalta.int.>

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