The COVID-19 pandemic has heaped misery on Mexico, with more than 70,000 deaths, a tally surpassed only by the USA, Brazil, and India. The country has pursued a strategy of not testing widely or contact tracing, but instead monitoring hospital capacity to inform the relaxation of restrictions. Approximately 98,000 Mexican health-care workers were infected between Feb 28 and Aug 23, according to the Pan American Health Organization. On Sept 2, a survey found that nearly half of Mexican health workers were not provided PPE at work. A report from Amnesty International said that more Mexican health-care workers had died of COVID-19 (1320) than in any other country.
Unfortunately, our programs have not been immune to this. Our lead doctor, Lily Garcia was infected with COVID back in July. She is fine now and back at work caring for and treating children with cancer.
The needs right now are staggering in Mexico in the midst of COVID-19. With your support, we have been securing PPEs for pediatric staff at our hospitals.
In July, one of our board members faciliated a donation from Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital for 100 face shields (50 for Veracruz and 50 for Oaxaca) and 25 caps with the faceshield, which are very useful for the children without hair. The cost is only around $10 per cap and we still desperately need more.
In June, we launched a new virtual platform for training nurses in Mexico. Initial sessions were attended by 40-50 nurses – and the last one was attended by over 200 nurses from several different hospitals! Your donations will help train many more nurses about diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer while also helping to protect them from COVID-19 with proper PPE equipment.
We continue with the nurse program training and have the 4th conference next week.