Direct Relief

City Square Transforms into Health Clinic After Mexico Earthquake

A bustling, tree-lined plaza — the center of community life in Ocuituco, Mexico —  is now a place for the city’s residents to get the medical care they need.

Street vendors mingle with the public on Wednesday in Ocuituco’s central plaza. The tents provide a convenient place for patients to get medical attention. (Photo by Dominic Bracco II for Direct Relief)

In the state of Morelos, where Ocuituco is located, a 7.1-magnitude temblor damaged 24,000 buildings in September.

A church belfry in Ocuituco reveals damage from the September quake. The historic church, the first convent in the Americas, has been condemned since. (Photo by Dominic Bracco II for Direct Relief)

Centro de Salud de Ocuituco, a health center that serves about 4,500 patients, was among those to sustain damage.

The Ocuituco municipal building was severely damaged during September’s quake, forcing local authorities to condemn the building’s public health facilities. (Photo by Dominic Bracco II for Direct Relief)

The town’s hospital is still operational but is several miles outside of the town’s center, requiring patients to walk the distance or hire a car — expensive in the mountainous region.

To help patients access health services closer to their homes, Centro de Salud de Ocuituco built a temporary clinic comprised of six tents, which have running water and power, in the town’s center.

After a deadly 7.1-magnitude reverberated through Morelos, Mexico, on Sept. 19, one of the area’s health centers was forced to close after it sustained significant damage. In response, six rugged medical tents, donated by Barebones, were set up in the town’s central plaza to serve as a temporary clinic for patients. (Photo by Dominic Bracco II for Direct Relief)

One tent is being used by clinic staff to register patients. Another, complete with a refrigerator for vaccines and other medications that require cold storage, is being used for preventive medicine. The others are being used for patient visits and pharmacy use.

Direct Relief’s Eduardo Mendoza speaks at the opening ceremony of a community health center in Ocuituco Morelos on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Direct Relief worked with Barebones tents to supply temporary shelters that will serve as a temporary clinic while repairs are made to the main facility. (Photo by Dominic Bracco II for Direct Relief)

The tents, which were provided by Barebones, are also being used as temporary clinics and field hospitals around the world, including in Syria, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where healthcare providers have set up medical outposts to treat Rohingya refugees.

— Dominic Bracco II is a journalist in Mexico City.

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