Ecuador’s la Fundación Dale has been enhancing healthcare in rural communities by constructing medical facilities and educating citizens on healthful lifestyles.
La Fundación Dale
The initiative to develop la Fundación Dale (the Dale “to give” Foundation) started in 1998, when Dole began rapidly expanding operations in Ecuador. The expansion consisted of a series of new investments aimed at increasing the number of Company-owned farms, as well as building a private shipping port.
At the beginning, the Dale Foundation’s actions revolved strictly around Dole’s properties and the areas surrounding their operations. In 2004, however, the scope expanded to include independent growers in Ecuador that produced for Dole, complied with all Company requirements and wanted to contribute financially to the Foundation’s work.
There are three core areas of focus for the Foundation:
- Health Programs, i.e. medical record maintenance, pharmaceutics, general checkups, HIV screenings, nutrition workshops and specialized medical treatment.
- Education Programs, i.e. book donations, computer lab equipment with corresponding training and cultural exchange programs with the U.S.
- Community Programs, i.e. recreational facilities and home gardening programs to improve families’ budgets, promote healthy eating and encourage community involvement.
To date, the Dale Foundation has built 15 dispensaries, which operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 8.00 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The dispensaries are set up in portable buildings that are strategically located in highly-concentrated farm areas, but can easily be moved to meet local needs. There are also five mobile units that visit remote areas according to a pre-established program.
In addition to diagnosing illnesses and providing medicine to the communities, the medical staff is also qualified to perform minor surgeries. This medical service is not limited to Dole employees, but rather, can be utilized by anyone living in the local area for a small fee. In 2010 alone, a total of 136,832 patients were treated.
Other Health and Medical Programs
- Lab Tests
- The objective of this program is to prevent diseases and detect ailments in a timely manner. In 2010, a total of 8,916 lab tests were performed.
- Vaccination Programs
- The Dale Foundation’s medical staff visits each farm in order to carry out inoculation programs. For example, a total of 22,701 hepatitis vaccinations were administered between 2005 and 2010.
- Critical Cases Programs
- Thanks to the Foundation’s medical check-ups and diagnoses, critical health problems are quickly detected and effectively treated. For individuals in need of unique treatment, the Foundation offers financial support. The Foundation has also partnered with different specialty medical centers, to further decrease treatment costs for Dole workers and their families. So far, the Company has ensured that hundreds of Ecuadorians receive necessary medical care at highly discounted rates.
- Medical Specialty Programs
- Specialty medical services that the Foundation offers include dentistry, dermatology and optometry, to name a few.
- Cancer Prevention Programs
- The Foundation has an active Cancer Prevention Program, which in 2010 alone, enabled 826 women to receive Pap smear tests and 781 of those women to receive physical breast examinations.
- With risks of prostate cancer increasing for men over 40 years of age, regular screenings become very important. The PSA test analyzes blood measurements of PSA for early detection and improved rates of recovery. In 2010, a total of 1,675 lab tests were performed for Dole’s agricultural workers.
- Deparasitation Programs
- In order to decrease gastrointestinal diseases, the Foundation developed a deparasitation program. In 2010, 11,511 doses were given under this program.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Lectures
- The Foundation holds numerous lifestyle lectures focused on ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS. In 2010, 13,184 lectures, counseling sessions, house visits, voluntary screenings and other similar actions were taken to support HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.