Keeping Kids Healthy In Todos Santos

Padrino Foundation provides money, clinics and more
BY: LACEY STORER

Since it was established 15 years ago, the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation has invested $15 million USD in local programs that help improve children’s quality of life, with a focus on health. But unlike most other non-profits, which raise money for their own programs, the LCCF uses the donations it gets to support and strengthen other community programs.

The LCCF recently announced its 26 grantees for 2017-18, and over the next year the Gringo Gazette will be featuring each organization and the work they do. In this issue, we are profiling the Padrino Children’s Foundation in Todos Santos.

eyedoctor.JPGThe word “padrino” means a compassionate guardian, someone who takes care of his or her loved ones. Since 2016, the Padrino Children’s Foundation has been working to help meet all of the medical and health needs facing the children in Todos Santos. That includes common health threats, like diabetes, obesity, malnourishment, teen pregnancy, and alcohol and drug use, and larger issues as well.

The Padrino Children’s Foundation also assists with:

Lack of medical coverage: In order to receive free medical care for citizens through the Seguro Popular (Mexico’s public health insurance), a child must be registered with the government. But some circumstances, like not having a birth certificate (which is not uncommon here in Mexico) prevent children from being registered. In Todos Santos, 30% of residents are not covered by medical insurance.

The Padrino Children’s Foundation works with many local physicians, as well as physicians from La Paz and Los Cabos, who offer services at a discounted rate. This allows them to be able to evaluate and treat a larger number of children.

Financial resources: Even though a consultation at the local public health clinic only costs about $6 USD, families with very low incomes can’t afford this amount, let alone the bus fare to follow up with a specialist in La Paz, emergency ambulance transport, surgical procedures, vision care or dental care. The foundation helps cover the costs of these services.

Lack of medical access: With no pediatrician in town, families lack access to routine physical exams that can detect health problems early on. Although more is being done in the way of outreach, there are many children who live on remote ranches and in migrant camps who are virtually “invisible” to the healthcare system.

Minimal health education: Without an understanding of basic health and proper nutrition, children and parents fail to recognize the onset of chronic childhood diseases. For example, Type 2 diabetes is underdiagnosed due to a cultural acceptance of obesity.

The Padrino Children’s Foundation has multiple programs in place to help meet the needs of the children. They provide financial aid for medical services, funding medical consultations, diagnostic studies, medicines, therapies, procedures and, when needed, transportation to specialized medical centers. The foundation also provides psychological therapy, family nutritional counseling and medical outreach programs to ranches and migrant camps in the Todos Santos area.

Medical, dental and vision clinics are another form of outreach the foundation provides. Clinics are performed periodically in schools and other community locations, and provides screening and treatment. An eye clinic the foundation hosted in April is a great example of the need the community has for the foundation’s service. In 10 hours, they saw 364 patients (children and adults) and gave out more than 400 pairs of glasses, with prescriptions to be filled for another 50 people. In addition, all attendees (including many migrant workers and local fishermen) were given sunglasses to help protect their eyes from the sun while working outdoors.

To learn about the Padrino Children’s Foundation or to make a direction donation, visit their website at www.PadrinoCF.org. To learn more about the work of the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, visit their website at www.loscaboschildren.org.