Free Medical Care For Baja Children

Courtesy of Amigos de los Niños
BY: AMANDA BRUNO

Since 1991 Amigos de los Niños (that’s Friends of the Children for you non-Spanish speakers) has provided quality medical care to children in Los Cabos. The accredited non-profit organization hosts five dental clinics and two audiology clinics every year, free of cost. Appointments are required, but any child is eligible for services. The clinics provide both preventative care and treatment of any detected problems.

Led by an American dentist, the ADLN dental clinic is run by volunteers from the US. The volunteers pay their own way down here and stay for about a week to assist at the clinic. The clinic is operated out of the ADLN office in Cabo San Lucas and has all of the necessary equipment to provide care that is equal in quality to what one would receive in the United States. They used to use local dentist offices but quickly discovered the equipment was unreliable and the space was inadequate, so they made additions to their office in their donated converted house and are now able to work directly from there.

ADLN audio clinics are also led by an American doctor, one who specializes in ENT (ears, nose, and throat). Just like at the dental clinics, the audiologists who come totreat the kids are volunteers from the States. They buy their flights down here, work for a few days, enjoy the area of a few days, and then head back. Last year, ADLN gave about 500 pairs of hearing aids to Baja kids for free.

Amigos de los Niños began in 1991 when a group of people living in Cabo San Lucas wanted to help their less fortunate neighbors. They started by dressing up as Santa Claus and delivering Christmas gifts to neighborhood children, but soon realized that the problems these kids and their families faced were deeper than a lack of Christmas presents. Eventually, they began to take on projects that would improve the quality of life for children in Los Cabos, starting with the installation of water purification systems in public schools in Cabo San Lucas.

ADLN later made it their mission to provide quality medical care to the children of Los Cabos up to the age of 18. They cover all medical costs for children who don’t have sufficient medical coverage, including routine check-ups and more special cases for those who are severely ill or disabled. Their dental clinics are free, as are their audio clinics are also free.

ADLN has two major programs: ADLN Free Clinics and ADLN Special Case Children. ADLN relies on the support of physicians who donate their work or provide it at a discount. Many of the doctors who work with ADLN come from the United States, but local doctors have begun to participate as well. The Free Clinic Program supports pediatric dentistry, ENT and audiology, pediatric cardiology, and corrective eye surgeries. These are bi- and tri-annual clinics that serve children who would otherwise go without these services, or accept them out of necessity at far lower quality.

The Special Case Children supports children who are severely ill or disabled, and who require long-term medical aid. The largest population of children served by this program is cancer patients. ADLN supplies chemotherapy medication to the pediatric hematology-oncology (UHOP) unit at Salvatierra in La Paz, as well as transportation to and from La Paz for their treatments.

To make a donation or learn more about Amigo de los Niños, visit their website at adlncabo.org.