With the help of Rotary Club of Reno, we have initiated a Global Grant: Los Barriles East Cape Health Center 2020 Expansion with an Emphasis on Vision.
Established in 2000, the East Cape Health Center (ECHC) is a non-government non-profit urgent care clinic that provides general and emergency health care, lab work, X-rays and other diagnostics as well as dental care to the East Cape area. These services are provided free to children and to those of low income. The free services are funded by providing services for a fee to tourists and local residents who can afford this cost. The goal of this grant is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the East Cape area (Los Barriles BCS, Mexico plus 30 miles north & south) with a focus on children and on those who cannot afford to pay. We will achieve this goal in two ways by establishing ECHC-Vision Center, first: we will bring an aspect of health care (and quality of life) that is readily available in the local and then second: over time, we expect the Vision Center to provide a financial surplus that will enable the expansion of services that the ECHC provides for free to the community.
The ECHC-Vision Center will start with two ophthalmologists, one volunteer optician, and one volunteer Optical Technician. This grant will enable purchasing all equipment necessary for optical examinations, as well as equipment for repairs and cleaning and for the fabrication of corrective lenses on site. Our goal is to provide visual acuity testing and full examinations to determine the need for corrective lenses, and then to fabricate corrective lenses and fit to frames on site. We will refer patients to the ophthalmologists in the event of disease related evaluations. As is the model for current operations of the ECHC, these services and the corrective lenses will be provided free to children and to those of low income. These services and products will be provided for a fee to the tourists and local residents who can afford the costs, again funding the eye care as well as the general health and dental care provided free to those in need.
Some background on the East Cape Health Center: Char Wenger, a charter member of our Rotary Club and the founder of the non-profit East Cape Health Center, began providing urgent care for the local community from the workspace of her garage and in-construction home in the late 90's / early 2000's. With the help of Rotary, the clinic officially opened the doors providing free and low cost services, supplies and medication for the children and local low income residents, while these were also provided as "fee for service" for tourists and foreign residents.
In 2008 services were expanded to include Dental, following the model described above: free services to children and those who cannot afford, locals who can pay are charged a nominal fee and tourists and foreign residents pay more thus providing the funding to enable the free & low costs to the local children low income residents and elderly. And as it has turned out, the dental services portion of the ECHC not only provides the intended free and low cost services but also provides additional funding for the free and low cost general health care.
It is our expectation that the Vision Center will have the same success as the Dental Clinic. In short, the ECHC is Non Profit providing quality health care services for free and low costs when needed and combined with the "fee for services" provided to those who can pay the clinic has demonstrated that it is a sustainable model that will provide these services and hopefully more for years to come.
The Rotary Club in Los Barriles, Club Rotario Los Barriles Cabo del Este, was established in 2004. It was the first Rotary club in Mexico where the members were a mix of local and foreign citizenship and both male and female, and although our membership has virtually doubled, the makeup looks very similar to that of our charter members. We consider this mix to be our strength: it is largely here that enables us to truly comprehend the needs of this mixed community and with the resources that come from roughly half of the club being retired - not to mention the volunteer resources of the 'Friends of Rotary', the accomplishments are pretty amazing!