Healthy Futures

How a OneChild Doctor and His Team in the Dominican Republic Are Saving Precious LivesBy Robyn Wilson, Photo by Ty Van Rensburg

Malnutrition. Diarrhea. Malaria.

Every five seconds, a child around the world dies from a poverty-related illness.

Dr. Breayan Pérez, a Child Champion in the Dominican Republic, is determined to right this wrong. In his role on staff with OneChild, Pérez travels to OneChild’s Hope Centers across the Dominican Republic to help give children living poverty vital medical checkups. He works with other OneChild doctors to ensure that children in the program receive help and the best medical care possible so they can lead healthy, hopeful lives.

Children also receive vaccinations, vitamins, and deworming pills. Plus, they attend classes on healthy habits where they learn the importance of handwashing and drinking clean water.

Since malnutrition and child hunger are issues for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic, Pérez also closely monitors children’s weight. “In our country … children don’t always get the nutrients they need,” he explains. So, Pérez takes time to teach parents as well about nutrition.

Pérez also ensures that when issues are discovered, sponsored children receive immediate treatment. “We had a girl who was diagnosed with a hemangioma on her tongue,” he says. “It had become so swollen that she couldn’t close her mouth. The parents didn’t have a way to treat her. We found out what she needed … and purchased the medicines. Now she can close her mouth and she’s eating better. We also taught her parents how to prepare food that she could swallow.”

As Pérez works with children’s physical health, he and his team also make sure that children are thriving in all areas of their lives. “When we talk about health at OneChild, we’re talking about holistic health,” he says. “We’re not only focused on the medical part but also children’s social, emotional, and physical development.”

Without sponsors, this wouldn’t be possible. “OneChild and sponsors are important because they provide something that these children would not be able to get by themselves,” explains Pérez. “Most of the children’s parents don’t have the money to cover medicines. The checkups that we give … so children can grow healthy and grow in the best way they can — they wouldn’t get them.”

Dr. Pérez’s dream is that the children he helps will improve their lives and transform their country. “This kind of ministry is important because we are called to redeem the life of the child,” says Pérez. “That’s the reason I believe this is a very important work that OneChild is doing in the Dominican Republic. The children who are redeemed and restored by this ministry will be the ones who will restore the community and the whole country in the future — and we will be part of it!”