Rafey, Dominican Republic
Dr. Johny Belarme acted on faith when he opened a medical clinic in Rafey, Dominican Republic, in 2014, with precious few resources.
Rafey, a suburb of Santiago, is home to a significant population of impoverished Haitian immigrants. Teen pregnancy, HIV and neighborhood violence are common.
The Luke Society partnered with Belarme in July 2016. A small capital investment allowed his ministry to take off with a restocked pharmacy, a staff of four and patient volume that now approaches 200 per month. He also conducts workshops on sexuality from a Biblical perspective to stem the tide of teen pregnancy and HIV.
Belarme has trained community health workers in a number of villages. The health workers are connected to churches, which have medical supplies for the workers to use.
In addition to his medical work, Belarme serves as the co-pastor of his church, preaching three to four times a month.
Dr. Johny Belarme
Dr. Johny Belarme's background mirrors many Luke Society directors who built their success stories with hard work and special blessing from the Holy Spirit. His leadership qualities stood out at a young age and he was given a medical scholarship by missionary acquaintances. Today, he pays that forward by caring for the physical and spiritual needs of those in Rafey, Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic Facts
Population: 10.5 million
Size: 48,670 sq. km, or about twice the size of New Hampshire.
Capital: Santo Domingo
Borders: Haiti to the west; North Atlantic Ocean to the north; Caribbean Sea to the south.
Religious groups: 95% Roman Catholic; 5% other
Primary language: Spanish
Literacy (age 15+): 91.8%
Physician density: 1.49 doctors per 1,000 people.
Population below international poverty line: 41.1%
Life expectancy: 75.8 years
Infant mortality rate: 18.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Major exports: Gold, silver, cocoa, sugar, coffee, tobacco, meats.
Climate: Tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal rainfall variation.
Terrain: Rugged highland and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys.