Dominican Republics Culture
The Dominican Republic is characterized by the sophisticated culture, and the representatives of other nations and countries may experience difficulties with grasping it. The current paper examines the major aspects of this culture, specifies the national communication style, and clarifies the major differences in communication between friends and strangers. Furthermore, it explains the origin of problems in the national health care sphere and presents the general direction of the necessary reforms. Despite various health-related problems, the closer integration of the Dominican Republic into the global system may improve the existing state of affairs in the future.
The Dominican Republic is the country in the Caribbean region with the population of around 10 million people (Roorda, Derby, & Gonzalez, 2014). The communication style is direct and informal even with strangers. Dominicans express their thoughts sincerely and expect the same behavior from others. The family roles are well-defined, and the majority of Dominican families has a patriarchal structure. However, some low-income families prefer a matriarchal structure. Men are usually employed in various spheres of the national economy while women may concentrate on their household functions. At the same time, the countrys Constitution declares equal political rights for women, and the current Vice-President is Margarita de Fernandez (Roorda et al., 2014). Thus, the role of females in the country is comparatively high, at least in relation to other countries from the Caribbean region. The extended families are also common, although their fraction tends to decline.
The countrys workforce constitutes approximately 5 million people. Although the level of education is low, people are hard-working and productive. The government controls almost all spheres of the national economy and employs more than 60% of the population (Roorda et al., 2014). The tourism industry demonstrates the rapid development, and the wages in this sphere tend to increase. Bicultural ecology reflects the general trend of the countrys development. The population tends to increase almost linearly, and more than 30% of the current population are children below 15 years. The majority of the countrys population has the racially mixed origin. White and Black Dominicans constitute 16% and 11% of the countrys population, respectively (Roorda et al., 2014). Although the country had been comparatively isolated from the rest of the world for a long time, currently, it integrates into the global economic system mostly with the help of tourism. It may be expected that the global integration of the Dominican economy will continue in the near future.
The citizens of the Dominican Republic are not heavily involved in high-risk behavior. In general, the situation is much better in comparison with Cuba and other countries from the same region. The level of smoking is satisfactory, as it is below 15% among men and 10% among women. The HIV prevalence is below 1%, which is one of the lowest levels in this geographical region (Leventhal, 2013). The consumption of alcohol corresponds to the general trend observed in the Caribbean region. Beer is popular in the country, and more than 50% of the population consume it regularly.
The situation with nutrition tends to improve rapidly in the country. The fraction of children with low weight-for-age is around 6% while it exceeded 10% at the beginning of the 1990s (Leventhal, 2013). The most serious problems are observed in those provinces where the standards of living are low such as Elhas Picas, Monte Plata, and Bahoruco (Roorda et al., 2014). The major nutrition-related problems include the lack of vitamin A, iron, and iodine. One of twenty Dominican children has a goiter, and the government tries to improve the situation in this context. The state of pregnancy and childbearing in the Dominican Republic is similar to other countries from the same region. The government controls closely the fulfillment of all standards by hospitals and clinics. The needs of pregnant women are addressed in a formal way through a set of designed norms and regulations. The interference in the governments determined childbearing practices is almost impossible.
In relation to death rituals, they are also highly formalized. People have to go to a funeral regardless of their personal desire. It is their social duty, and the wake usually continues until 12 am (Roorda et al., 2014). Moreover, families have the opportunity to select a series of memorial masses. They occupy nine consecutive days and include both religious and civil elements. Flowers are typically absent during death rituals. Spirituality plays an important role in the country. The majority of the population is Catholics, and the quarter of all citizens are Protestants. The fraction of unaffiliated people is also high and constitutes around 18% (Roorda et al., 2014).
The health care practices in the Dominican Republic are organized in a complicated way. There are three major levels of providing such services. There is an asset of guaranteed services available for all individuals regardless of their income. However, various unofficial payments exist even at this level, and people have to cover the costs of health care services. The second level includes persons who earn less than RD $4,000 per month (Leventhal, 2013). In this case, the governments package extends only to a worker rather than their family. The third level includes people who do not fall under the previous categories. Some international companies in the Dominican Republic offer additional private health care coverage. There are substantial problems with the availability of health care professionals in the country. The fraction of nurses is only 1.3 per 1,000 people, and it is one of the lowest levels in the world (World Bank, 2014). The fraction of physicians is around 1.7 per 1,000 people (Trading Economics, 2016). Therefore, this coverage is insufficient, and the country experiences the constant shortage of specialists.
Thus, my cultural ancestry is Dominican. Dominican people are open regarding communicating with others and exchanging their opinions and thoughts. In the majority of cases, Dominicans are highly emotional, but they do not impose their views on other individuals. The only topic that may be considered taboo is sex, as the role of Catholicism in the country is high. Touching is also significant and widespread in the Dominican Republic. It is often used during the communication with family members and friends. It means the respect and sincerity of peoples messages. However, touching among the members of the opposite sex is publicly condemned due to the unofficial sex conversation taboo. Touching of health care providers is rare.
The social distance between individuals in the Dominican Republic is close to that in the United States. The usual distance is around 1.5 feet when communicating with family members or close friends and around 2 feet during conversations with other people (Roorda et al., 2014). It corresponds to the general patterns throughout the world, but the social distance is lower in comparison with the majority of other countries. The direct eye contact is common and is more intense in relation to family members and friends rather than strangers and persons of different age groups. It means that the role of indirect eye signals among close people is higher than among strangers. Gestures and facial expressions are used for making ones claims more influential and clearer for the recipient. The meaning of gestures depends on the specific circumstances (Purnell, 2013). For example, they may explain ones emotions or encourage others to behave in a specific way. The representatives of the Dominican culture and other cultures from the Caribbean region do not typically experience any problems in interpreting gestures and facial expressions in a correct way. The emotions are displayed in an open manner consistent with the general Dominican communication style.
Shaking hands is the most common and socially acceptable way of greeting other people (Roorda et al., 2014). It seems that the Dominican culture is mostly present-oriented. People try to optimize their current standards of living. They are not highly concerned with the countrys past and do not develop strategic plans for the nations future development. It also explains some negative impact of the culture on the development of health care. The government does not invest the necessary amount of funds in health care development. As a result, the unofficial payments tend to become even more widespread. However, they do not contribute to the needed improvement of services quality. On the contrary, people with low income experience difficult conditions and cannot receive the access even to the elementary care. At the same time, the Dominican culture encourages orienting to peoples needs and helping others regardless of their origin and race. Therefore, I suggest that my culture contributed to my professional choice.
It may be concluded that the culture of the Dominican Republic has both similar and distinct elements in comparison with other countries from the same region. Dominican people are open individuals and attempt to help all individuals around them, including strangers. The major problems in health care exist due to the large-scale government intervention in this sphere. The declared minimum is not fulfilled, and the practices of unofficial payments are present. Moreover, the amount of funds directed to the health care sphere is insufficient for satisfying the needs for the latest technologies. Finally, the fractions of nurses and other health care professionals are low. However, the proper and well-organized reforms in this sector may improve the situation. The Dominican Republic should orient to the latest trends in the global health care and adjust them to the local conditions. It is reasonable to integrate the efforts of the government and private companies that are open for increasing the health care standards for the population. If these reforms are implemented, the general situation may improve considerably.