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Chiapas medical appeal

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Mark.
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Joined: 11-02-07
Feb 22 2007 12:02
Chiapas medical appeal

Appeal for funds for medicines and medical equipment in Chiapas.

The Solidarity Delegation from Scotland, currently in Chiapas, have just returned from their visit to our twinned zapatista autonomous municipality of 16th February. During their 10 day stay in the Municipality they were based in its new health clinic, and report that it is now indeed up and running and treating patients- but is still in great need of donations.

The 16th February autonomous municipality presented our delegation with a letter thanking us for all our solidarity to help them build the clinic, and stressing their important need for support to buy more medicines and to buy medical equipment. The equipment they have at present is only on loan to the clinic. And while the clinic's medical rooms have been built, there is a real need for further construction to provide the clinic's health promoters with a training room, dormitories and a proper kitchen.

You still have time to make such a donation, which the Delegation can deliver directly before they leave Chiapas. If you make your donation by 3nd March they will be able to take your money directly to the zapatista committee of good government in the Chiapas Highlands. Please email edinchiapas[at]yahoo.co.uk to say you have made the donation.

Autonomous health clinics are a vital part of the zapatista struggle for autonomy. Along with the autonomous schools, the grass-roots democracy, the collectives and the communal control of land, they form the fabric of a new kind of self-managed society, independent from the state and businesses, though as an island of autonomy in the ocean of capitalism they face huge challenges.

The Delegation write:

"We were given accommodation in the new 16th February clinic 'San Antonio de Padova' during our stay at 16th February. We could see the patients arriving and being given consultations. One day we were in a meeting with the clinic staff, the health promoters, when a patient was suddenly wheeled out of the emergency room and transferred to the clinic's ambulance. The health promoters reported that during January they treated 50 patients, a figure they expect to rise significantly as the news spreads that the clinic is now operational.

We were shown round the clinic. It is of a good size, and substantially built. But their pharmacy has very few medicines. The little they have was bought through contributions by the families in the municipality, which they can hardly afford since they are living in poverty difficult for us to imagine.

What's more almost all the medical equipment in the Clinic is only on loan, and will have to be replaced, at considerable cost. It was originally destined for another new zapatista clinic, but since its construction has been delayed, was instead lent to the 16th February clinic. At some point, presumably sooner than later, 16th February will have to either return the equipment, and buy their own equipment, or buy equipment for the other clinic.

The zapatista ambulance based at the 16th February clinic is invaluable for reaching patients too ill to travel. As we discovered during our visit the municipality covers a large area, and public transport is often scarce, and what is more often consists of an open lorry without seats, hardly suitable for anyone seriously ill. Here again though there is a pressing need for donations to cover the costs of its operation over the extremely rough terrain of the municipality.

Plans are underway to also develop a pharmacy of natural and herbal medicines, to complement the conventional medical treatments.

We were very impressed by the dedication of the health promoters at the clinic, men and women, who work without pay to help their community. While we were there they holding meetings to prepare materials for a new course to induct new health promoters. When someone had stomach problems a health promoter was able to pick a local plant and boil it up to make natural medicine to help their ailment. Not only do the health promoters provide the health care at the clinic, they share all the cleaning, cooking and other essential duties.

The health promoters told us that the families of the municipality suffered from many illnesses, many of them serious. Respiratory infections, such as TB and chronic bronchitis, gastro entiritis, skin infections, malaria, maternal death in child birth and infant mortality were among the problems in the municipality.

You can help improve this situation immediately by making a donation now, which will reach the health clinic within days.

HOW TO DONATE

Pay money directly into our bank account:

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
Clydesdale Bank
Sort Code: 82-45-05
Account: 60129411

Send a cheque, made out out to EDINBURGH CHIAPAS SOLIDARITY GROUP, to:

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
c/o ACE
17 West Montgomery Place
Edinburgh
EH7 5HA
Scotland

If you live locally, you can hand in a donation, either in cash or as a cheque, in an envelope addressed to Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh at 17 West Montgomery Place, currently open Saturday 10am-6pm, Tuesday 1-4pm, and (for a film showing) Sundays 3pm-5/6ish. (Zapatista coffee and handicrafts also available there!)

In all cases please make sure to email edinchiapas[at]yahoo.co.uk to say how much you have donated, how, and when.

Web site: http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk