SAN PEDRO ITZICAN and the surrounding villages, including Agua Caliente

Renal failure and malnutrion are widespread in this community

In January 2019, 18 people died of kidney failure - one was a little girl.  In 2018 there were 8 deaths from kidney failure and in 2017, 4 people died. 
Already in 2020, at the end of January, 8 people have died of kidney failure.
This 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 recent studies seems to indicate that it may be a combination of many factors.  The water issues are covered on this link.

Since 2016, the renal failure problem has received more media coverage, which will help changes to be made.  But as yet, studies are done, 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 Mezcala, La Peña and San Pedro, the 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 many homes do not have running water.

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

Since June 2017, the State of Jalisco has been providing transportation three times a week, to take patients from the villages, who have kidney problems, to and from the General hospital in  Guadalajara (Hospital Civil). 
This is very helpful and proactive and we hope it continues.









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:
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, over 544 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

In 2018 we heard that La Zapotera may one day be the site of a new hospital to serve people in the area.  Mtro. Gabriele Passmonte, a Jesuit priest, was sent to assist in the construction of a new hospital.  The Passamonte Foundation is handling the new hospital in conjunction with the Municipality of Poncitlan.  The land for the new hospital had been donated by the Ejido in La Zapotera.  The paperwork had finally cleared and they are ready for construction.  Maestro Passamonte brought with him architectural plans for the new hospital...very exciting.  Not sure when it will happen though... They did find a source of fresh water on the land and a well was dug.   But as to the progress of the hospital, as of January 2020, no news...
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.

© 2018, 2019 and 2020 by  "Poco a Poco" San Pedro Itzican

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