SAN PEDRO ITZICAN and the surrounding villages, including Agua Caliente

Renal failure and malnutrion are widespread in this community

Over the years, many people have died related to kidney failure.  Many children as well as young adults.  Because of Covid, it's difficult to determine how many died of renal failure, but when those patients got Covid, it was difficult for them to recover.  By the end of 2021 we should hopefully have some clearer numbers.  But is tragic.

For many years the Mexican Government has been aware of the medical problems in San Pablo Itizcán, and the surrounding villages.

But what is the cause, is not so simple, as just saying "its the drinking water".   General opinion from studies over the years seems to indicate that it may be a combination of many factors.  The water issues are covered on this link.

The renal failure problem has received more media coverage since 2016, which will help changes to be made, but there is no "quick fix".  Expensive studies have been carried out but no solutions or changes appear to have been made.

Other than clean drinking water, air pollution - thought to be caused by the local method of cooking with wood inside the homes - is another problem.  Poor families will burn anything they have available, which might include plastics and wet wood.  You can imagine the health affects of this...

 

And there are high traces of pesticides in the water and on local foliage. The local farmers can't afford expensive pesticides so these may be coming from elsewhere. 

And garbage is a huge problem.  Apart from the main roads in Mezcala, La Peña and San Pedro, other parts of the towns and other villages further along the lakeside, do not get garbage pick up.  So everything eventually gets washed down to the lake, where the children are also collecting water to boil up for drinking water, and bathing in the lake, as few homes have running water.

Poverty also causes health problems too - malnutrition in particular.   Lack of the right foods can be a problem for young children and can cause kidney problems.   

THE SAD TRUTH

7.1% 

HAVE ACUTE MALNUTRITION

33.9%

SUFFER CHRONIC MALNUTRITION

86.5% 

HAVE AN INSUFFICIENT CALORIE DIET

89.5% 

DO NOT CONSUME ENOUGH PROTEIN

The figures above were taken in 2016 from test results on 300 local high school students.

In 2017 a study was conducted by Doctor Felipe Lozano Kasten of the University of Guadalajara Center of Health Sciences, on the village of Agua Caliente.  It was due to be completed in September 2017 but we have not seen the final results.  Here is a YouTube excerpt:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82gjd25Ezg4
 
The initial results of the study revealed that of the 300 preschool, primary and secondary students of Agua Caliente, 170 showed signs of renal damage.  This link explains some of the study results to date.
 
Of the 950 residents in the village of Agua Caliente, over 544 people were tested.  At that stage, 270 already had various stages of kidney failure. 77 were in stage 3, and 17 children were needing immediate help as they were at stage 5 renal failure and needing dialysis immediately.  But these families cannot afford the expensive dialysis...
Many people go untreated for their medical conditions.  (Many wouldn't be able to afford to pay for the drugs anyway and the nearest pharmacy is in Mezcala.)  The Brigada office in San Pedro has a small stock of medical supplies that can be dispensed as needed in emergency but they are only able to cope with minor medical issues.
2018 was a sad year due to children dying from kidney related issues.  This is a recent message from Anita to the Poco a Poco volunteers, explaining how difficult she is finding it:  

"On the 1st of this month (April 2018) another young man died from kidney disease. I have seen 10 young people between the ages of 8 and 25 die recently.  Every time a young person dies, I feel powerless.  Perhaps we have been abandoned?   No one seems to know what is going on here, with many studies being done, the government invests millions in studies, but nothing seems to be done to change things.  Here we live in a world full of garbage, with houses full of smoke, children playing and living among pig and dog feces.  And we are hungry.  We cannot even begin to deal with that ... because here we eat once or twice a day, if we eat at all. These are towns with people without jobs, abandoned children who ask for money, so that their only food is something fried or junk food.    

 

Many from the ex-pat community have supported these people, but in a disorganized way.  They give to simply give, without educating the townspeople.  You, along with me, are trying to educate people, trying to create a change.  I think what we are doing is the best solution .....

 

This situation is worrying and sad, since 3 of those 10 that died recently, were Brigadistas.  Now in Agua Caliente, a 7-year-old girl needs dialysis and at this tender age is stricken with kidney disease.  I feel unable to cope!  Sorry, but I write to you because it is painful to see how we are dying and nothing is changing.  I feel that you have helped more than any others, and above all you have sustained me when I already feel that I cannot go on.  But I thank you with all my heart, for listening to me."

 

Anita Torres Guerrero

Leader of The Brigadistas

Communities of Mezcala and San Pedro Itzican

Over the years we have heard promises of a local hospital being built, but no actual progress.  Now (June 2021) Red Cross Chapala are fundraising for a dialysis clinic for renal patients.  That might be an alternative solution for people in the San Pedro area to travel to Chapala, rather than Guadalajara, for their dialysis treatments. 
This is a sign posted outside the church in San Pedro:  to tell people not to drink the hot water (which is the local water source) and to avoid eating certain types of fish.
Agua Sign (1).jpg