MEXICO: Construction continues on new spinal cord treatment center
The project runs from October 2018 through the end of September 2023.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 23, 2021) A new treatment center is being developed for people living with spinal cord injuries thanks to funding Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, received from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID-ASHA) program. The “Raising Standards of Care for Spinal Cord Injury Patients” project will construct and equip Mexico’s first comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation center to assist patients who have been paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, with a special focus on youth.
The project runs from October 2018 through the end of September 2023. The Latin American Center for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries, which will be built in Guadalajara, will be the only center in Mexico dedicated to serving the target population. Construction for the new center is continuing to progress as scheduled. In July, the foundation was laid, and the walls, including masonry work, were built. The roof work began in August, and roofing for the physical therapy, electrotherapy and gym sections of the building was completed in September. Work also began on the façade, electrical installation, and distribution of the connections. Equipment is expected to be acquired in the beginning of 2022.
“The state-of-the-art treatment and rehabilitation center will be equipped with cutting-edge technology and innovative resources,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “In addition to treating patients, the center will also generate and disseminate new science and technology. Within its first four years, it is anticipated that the center will treat 500 patients with spinal cord injuries, mainly youth and young adults between the ages of 12-35 who live in poverty and in a state of high vulnerability.”
People who use wheelchairs in Mexico face difficulties in traversing city streets independently. With a lack of elevators and accessibility in public transportation and work places, people with spinal cord injuries struggle to be given the chance to succeed.
Women who have endured spinal cord injuries face challenges in completing typical household chores that were once under their care, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Statistical research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that Mexican women dedicate more than triple the amount of time on household chores and activities as compared to Mexican men.
The “Raising Standards” project will provide specialized occupational therapy for both women and men to retrain them in skills needed to independently carry out typical household chores and activities. This includes a simulated kitchen to help patients to learn how to maneuver and cook with their new physical circumstances. Office and bedroom simulation areas will also be a part of the project.
Don Bosco on Wheels, Salesian Missions’ implementation partner in Mexico, currently connects with people newly afflicted by spinal cord injuries in the hospital and provides information to help them overcome mobility challenges. Don Bosco Wheels will continue to meet with women patients to provide services and will encourage them to participate in the treatment center as the project develops. The recent donation of a passenger truck to transfer patients to the rehabilitation center has encouraged more patients to participate.
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