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Nursing department helps treat immigrants in Dominican Republic

University of North Georgia nursing students, faculty and staff took 125 kits of reusable feminine hygiene products to the Dominican Republic in May and distributed them to young girls and women.

For the average American woman, purchasing tampons and sanitary pads to deal with her monthly menstrual cycle is a normal occurrence. But for teen girls and women in rural Dominican Republic, access to feminine hygiene products is almost impossible.

"A package of pads is $3, and these families make $1 a day," said Heather Harris, lecturer of nursing at the University of North Georgia (UNG). "So it's not possible to pay for them."

So when UNG nursing students, faculty and staff headed to the Caribbean country in May for their seventh trip, they went prepared. The 19 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students, four family nurse practitioners, two pre-med students, and five faculty members took 125 kits of reusable feminine hygiene products.  The kits were made by the local Days for Girls (DfG) volunteer team, which was formed by Nina Myer, lecturer of nursing at UNG, and her mother.

The distribution of kits was one of several services the UNG contingency supplied. They also established mobile medical clinics to treat Haitian immigrants, who are not eligible for healthcare because they are not Dominican Republic citizens. In addition to taking vital signs and a health history, students helped fill free prescriptions and conducted a dental education course.

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