Purpose: International medical missions may increase access to medicines and care, but international teams must understand local needs to implement appropriate services. In 2023, a multidisciplinary team from our institution partnered with a nonprofit organization in the barrio of Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic with the goal of strengthening local health services. The primary objective of this study was to identify health-related needs in Cienfuegos from the perspective of community members and local health care workers.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted as part of a service-learning initiative. After obtaining informed consent, the investigators conducted individual semi-structured interviews facilitated by multi-lingual interpreters. The cohort of interviewees encompassed health care professionals and local community members within and proximate to Cienfuegos. The interrogatory framework centered on pivotal health issues, requisites for health education, and accessibility to pharmaceuticals and medical services.

Results: A total of 19 interviews were conducted over four days in Cienfuegos and surrounding areas. Participants included one physician, one dentist, one pharmacist, six physical therapy workers, and ten community members. Five overarching themes were identified: 1) Access to care, 2) Health care resources, 3) Quality of care, 4) Health education, and 5) Environmental impact on health and well-being.

Conclusion: This study explored health-related needs in an underserved area of the Dominican Republic from the perspective of community members and health care workers. Insights from this study will inform future areas for intervention for multidisciplinary teams, including assistance with medication access and education.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.