21st Century Isle of Hispaniola – Magical rites vs. medical treatment, cultural mores or respecting Life?

The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has confirmed that two Haitian children who died last week had been ill with cholera. The children were found dead inside a rural temple in El Javillar, Puerto Plata.

The pastor had tried to revive the children using rites and prayers, as reported in Listin Diario. The Ministry of Public Health said that the bodies of nine- year old Nelly Yan and three-year old Christopher Michel, children of Emilia Yan and Elena Lafret were reported dead. Four other children, who were found in a serious condition were rescued and taken to the Ricardo Limardo Hospital in Puerto Plata and are recovering.

Last week 56 cholera cases were reported. Last year there were 184 cases reported since the first case in October 2010. This brings the total to 313 cases of cholera reported in the DR since October.

The MOPH warned the public that it is unacceptable that free nationwide medical services should not be used for cultural reasons. The Ministry said that investigations established that a Haitian known as “the prophet” locked several Haitian children in the temple to perform magical-religious rites to save the two with health problems.

The neighbors claimed that he was opposed to the children receiving medical attention. A 53-year old Haitian man is the other reported cholera-related death.

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