Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: September 09, 2022

MEXICO: Latin American Center for Comprehensive Care for Spinal Cord Injuries inaugurated

Project is Mexico’s first comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation center to assist patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Sept. 9, 2022) The new Latin American Center for Comprehensive Care for Spinal Cord Injuries was inaugurated on Aug. 16 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The event included a Catholic Mass, the ribbon cutting, a ceremony of speeches and videos, and a social hour. The new treatment center was 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 constructed and equipped 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 center is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as advanced rehab exercise bikes, kinesitherapy equipment for upper and lower limbs, walking support and electric standing frames. The center also generates and promotes new science and technology for the treatment, care, and rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries for their independence and reintegration.

It is anticipated that in the first four years in operation, the center will treat at least 500 patients with spinal cord injuries, mainly youth and adults between the ages of 12-35 who live in poverty and a state of high vulnerability. This will also indirectly benefit thousands of family members who are responsible for the care of the patients, as well as health care professionals who will benefit from new technologies and methods for treating spinal cord injuries.

Fr. Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, in a message spoke of Salesian Missions’ partnership with USAID/ASHA. He said, “Together, we have enhanced cooperation by strengthening local capacity and leadership to help young people and vulnerable populations become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.”

The “Raising Standards” project will also provide specialized occupational therapy to retrain people 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.

Salesian Missions has two local implementation partners including Don Bosco Wheels and Vinculos y Redes, a civil organization providing support in the education field. Don Boco Wheels 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. A 2021 donation of a passenger truck to transfer patients to the rehabilitation center has encouraged more patients to participate.


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