How do you spell HOPE in the Dominican Republic? CANADA.

Canada is the name of the street where partner agency ADESJO has an office in San Jose de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic.

For the past 7 years, ADESJO and Canadian partner HOPE International Development Agency have been working with Health Partners International of Canada to increase access to medicine for the most vulnerable people served by their network of 33 clinics across the country. Another key player from Canada is the Scarboro Foreign Missions Society, which sowed these connections years ago and has been a long-time support to the community.

The friendship and support of individuals and charitable organizations from Canada is so valued that the street was named “Canada” as a gesture of appreciation.

In May 2017, HPIC sent staff member Raini Aquino to meet the partners and learn more about this long-term health project. When Raini, a pharmacist originally from the Dominican Republic, visited the local clinic in San Jose de Ocoa, she met a nurse, Zoraida, who had benefitted from a 20-foot container of medicines delivered late last year. Zoraida has been working at the clinic for the last 6 years.

“She was so incredibly grateful for the medicine,” Raini recalled. “She had to come over and thank me for the asthma medication that was donated by Teva Canada Limited.”

Zoraida lives in this town and so this is the clinic that she uses as a patient. “The town is in the mountains, which trap the pollution and causes many people who live there to suffer from asthma,” Raini explained. The dramatic change in temperature from the hot and humid conditions during the day to cold nights also contributes to problems for asthma patients.

Teva-Montelukast is an effective treatment that is taken when needed to control the symptoms of asthma such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness and cough.

“Zoraida’s doctor had recommended this treatment but she could not afford it. Even if she could, the medicine is probably not even available in her town but only in a large city,” Raini explained.

“When the HOPE shipment arrived, Zoraida was one of an estimated 100 patients to benefit from this gift by Teva Canada Limited.

“When you treat the healthcare workers, you are also ensuring that more people can access care and treatment,” Raini explained.

Partner highlight: Teva Canada Limited has been a partner of HPIC since 2003. Lifetime giving of medicine through HPIC is now over $50 million. In 2016, Teva Canada Limited was a top donor of medicine and they also provide annual general funding.