MEXICO— This Tuesday, a mission made up of 26 professionals from the Ministries of Health and the Navy returned to Mexico after 20 days in Chile, where they provided humanitarian aid by assisting pediatric patients and training and exchanging experiences with their Chilean counterparts.
A delegation headed by the Director General of Epidemiology, Gabriel García Rodríguez, also traveled to Chile to deliver the support equipment.
According to officials, the humanitarian mission came in response to the diplomatic letter sent to Mexican Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer Varela by Chilean Health Minister Ximena Aguilera Sanhueza referring to the increased number of respiratory cases and the unprecedented outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children.
Heading the arrival ceremony at the Benito Juarez International Airport (AICM) in Mexico City, Secretary Alcocer said that the Mexican mission responded with great enthusiasm to the call “from our Chilean brothers and sisters to offer their knowledge and experience to assist in facing the health crisis caused by the respiratory syncytial virus.”
The solidarity offered by the Mexican people to Chile is what the medical profession is all about, he told the returning health personnel, saying that he hoped they always kept this attitude, because “solidarity is the soul of the people.”
He said that the Mexican mission, made up of 26 professionals with expertise in pediatric critical care, provided services in Castro, Los Lagos region; Copiapó, Atacama region and Curicó, Maule region, where the specialists contributed to “the future of a country, its children, its brevity, its innocence.”
The specialists belong to the Coordinating Commission of National Health Institutes and High Specialty Hospitals (CCINSHAE), the Ministry of the Navy and the Operational Center for Contingency Care (Copac).
The Health Secretary explained that this collaboration provides an opportunity to think of new ways of promoting solidarity, the medical profession and Mexican humanism to benefit international cooperation.
Representing the Secretary of the Navy, José Rafael Ojeda Durán, the Undersecretary of the Navy, José Luis Arellano Ruiz, said that Mexico is characterized by its solidarity with nations in need of support.
On this occasion, in response to Chile’s request, the Government of Mexico sent nursing, intensive care medicine and pediatric specialists from the Mexican Navy on the Navy’s CASA 295 aircraft.
“For the Ministry of the Navy, it is always an honor to have the opportunity to respond to this type of emergency. We are constantly preparing ourselves to deal with this type of situation through our Navy Plan, as we have been doing for 40 years.”
In welcoming the health personnel who arrived today, the Undersecretary of the Navy said that the Navy is happy to have them back home. On this mission they have fulfilled their duty as health professionals and specialists in an outstanding manner, and have acquired new knowledge that can be used in their institutions.
On behalf of Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena, the Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Laura Elena Carrillo, acknowledged the work, solidarity and humanism of this mission, which assisted Chilean pediatric intensive care clinical teams in reducing the RSV outbreak.
The Chilean ambassador to Mexico, Beatriz Sánchez Muñoz, said that Chile is complex and specialists are needed in remote areas. “When we talk about international relations, and say that Chile and Mexico have a good relationship, it is reflected in these moments, by a mission that helps us when we need it. When there is a problem, there is no delay.”
She recalled that when there were wildfires in Chile, Mexico sent 300 specialists at the request of President Gabriel Boric Font to assist, another example of countries that are brothers.”
The 26 professionals made up three pediatric RSV teams. Each had an intensive care pediatrician, three nurses specialized in intensive care and one general nurse; a respiratory therapist and a general practitioner for logistical and operational support.
The Mexican team also provided 38 training sessions to Chilean health professionals from the three hospital units.
The reception ceremony for the Mexican medical mission was attended by the Director of Epidemiological Information of the Health Ministry, Christian Arturo Zaragoza Jiménez, and the Directors General of the Dr. Eduardo Liceaga General Hospital, Guadalupe Mercedes Lucía Guerrero Avendaño; and the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital, Jaime Nieto Zermeño.
Also present as guests of honor were the heads of the National Institute of Pediatrics (INP), Mercedes Macías Parra; the Luis Guillermo Ibarra Ibarra National Institute of Rehabilitation, Carlos Javier Pineda Villaseñor; and the Ismael Cosió Villegas National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), Carmen Margarita Hernández Cárdenas, as well as the acting representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Mexico, Juan Manuel Sotelo Figueiredo.