Nashley’s heart disease was discovered on one of DOCF’s many rural mission detection trips to Montecristi to help children at the borders, where pediatricians and cardiology programs are even less accessible. Montecristi province is located on the most northwestern point of the Dominican Republic, about a 4-hour drive by bus from Santo Domingo.

61% of that population lives in poverty condition, and 23% in extreme poverty. 47.8 % does not have basic necessities met, according to the poverty map of the Economy, Planning and Development. There is only one pediatrician in the area.

Of the 144 children screened during this mission trip, 18 were diagnosed with heart disease. Only 2 had ever been to a cardiologist, on a trip to Santiago. The rest had been told to wait for a mission trip to come to them.

These rural detection missions are a critical component of the public education and awareness program that DOCF supports throughout the country, helping ensure children are screened and given an early referral to a pediatric cardiologist where needed.