Partnering to Change Lives
CMMB and CitiHope International have been partnering since 2008 to bring medicines and medical supplies to support a variety of integrated community health programs. Together, we have shipped over $20 million of donations to ten different countries across Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia.
Reaching the Most Vulnerable
In the Dominican Republic, CitiHope leads a corporate and social responsibility alliance composed of prominent Dominican corporations. Working under the guidance of the Dominican Ministry of Health, they implement wide-ranging work to improve the health, education, food security and economic wellbeing of vulnerable communities.
Los Guandules is a community in the capital city of Santo Domingo that sits on the banks of the polluted Ozama River. Between the narrow streets full of old vehicles and alleys that barely fit pedestrians, there are approximately 85 thousand inhabitants. There is no sanitation system, so the community has no choice but to find their own solutions for discarding human waste. It is often thrown into the river, where it mixes with the waste from nearby power plants. These poor conditions, combined with endemic poverty compound the challenges of a population that struggles already with unemployment, a strained education system, and numerous health issues.
Lifesaving Treatment for Leyla
Leyla is a 10-year-old girl who lives in Los Guandules with her aunt and father. Her mother had HIV and as a result Leyla was born HIV positive as well. Her mother passed away when she was only two years old, leaving her father to care for a baby girl while coping with his grief. Leyla’s aunt moved in with the family to help care for the young girl.
While Leyla’s father returned to work, her aunt embarked on an exhaustive search to find affordable HIV care. Her efforts were finally rewarded when she discovered the Robert Reid Cabral Clinic operating in Los Guandules which began to treat her niece. They share a small house with another family. While they continue to struggle with poverty, they are thankful to have access to the regular treatment from the clinic. Now, Leyla can play with her friends like a normal child and look forward to a bright future that isn’t restricted by this disease.
Partnering to Change Lives
The Robert Reid Clinic is one of the 20 HIV-focused facilities run by Aid for AIDS Dominicana. Cristian Cabrera is a doctor specializing in nutrition at the clinic. She was emphatic that without the donations of antiretrovirals, the facility would be unable to care for their poor patients. The ARV that they were distributing to patients, including Leyla had been donated by CMMB’s partner Bristol Myers Squibb.
She stressed that she was also thankful for the variety of support provided by CitiHope. She is responsible for evaluating viral count of her patients and supplementing HIV treatment programs based on that information. This is crucial because children who are HIV positive need 10-20% more calories than other children. Dr. Cabrera said that thanks to donations of fortified food from CitiHope, she can work to ensure that they grow to their full potential.
While Leyla will still face challenges in her life, she will not be held back by HIV—thanks to a dedicated network of CMMB partners and health care practitioners from pharmaceutical companies to NGOs to Ministries of Health to Dr. Cabrera.