Enabling those who are most vulnerable to maintain their health during the coronavirus is critical. Our experience is that many families prioritize their most basic needs for food over healthcare. Sometimes we only discover they are not taking needed prescriptions or canceling critical medical appointments when we deliver food despensas to their homes.
To better serve the community, we make a point to ask them about their health situation if we have developed a personal relationship with them over time. Thanks to generous donors, we have a modest health fund to provide prescription medication, transportation costs for those who need to go to the mainland to see specialists and for specific health diagnostic studies not covered by free government health services available to the general population. Below are some examples of those receiving medical help during the coronavirus:
- Teresa has a rare blood disease that requires frequent travel to Merida for blood analysis. She is a single mother of three; two teenage boys and her daughter pictured here. Although Theresa’s health is currently stable; she isn’t able to work consistently as a result of the disease. She qualifies for paid medical consultations, but cannot afford the necessary travel. Thanks to donations, we are able to pay for transportation to the mainland.
- Jhoana has a tumor in her throat (see the swelling at the base of her neck). She, her teenage sister and two young cousins are being raised by their 70+ year old grandmother, Rosita, who has no steady source of income. The children were abandoned by their parents years ago. Normally, Rosita gathers recycling to sell for a few pesos and searches for odd jobs. Due to the stay-at-home restrictions she cannot search for ways to earn income.
The five of them live in a modest concrete room about 10’ x 6’ with little ventilation. Friends of Cozumel is providing food despensas, a special soft diet for Jhoana including nutrition supplement drinks because she cannot swallow solid food, transportation costs to Playa del Carmen to see a pediatric throat specialist and prescription medication to try to shrink the tumor rather than invasive surgery. The good news is that a biopsy has shown the tumor is benign. Rosita is easily confused and overwhelmed with managing Jhoana’s medical needs so they frequently miss appointments and follow-up.
Special thanks to Nelly Cervantes, our Friends of Cozumel coordinator, for providing personal follow-up and going to some appointments to ensure Jhoana is now receiving the medical help she needs. Sometimes these special families just need a ”hand up” for a short time to get them on track.
- Another young girl with severe asthma needs costly inhaler prescriptions monthly. She is one of four children being raised by a single mother who normally has work as a maid. She was able to pay for the prescriptions but is temporarily out of work since her employers are not working as tour guides for cruise excursions.
Again, it is thanks to generous donors that we are able to provide these services to the community. We, and they, are thankful for those of you that make this possible. Thank you for reading and supporting the people of San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico. To donate go to our page how to make a donation or via PayPal.