Cancer is a catastrophic disease, which replaces healthy cells, leaving only malignant cells. In children, it is a highly curable disease, reaching an average survival rate of 70, unlike cancer in adults, which only 30% of people who receive treatment(1).
In Mexico, our reality is different. The survival rate is only 56% of children detected with cancer(2).
Once the child is detected with cancer, he faces the lack of health care to receive treatment. In Jalisco, government agencies serve 35% of children with cancer, and private institutions 5%, leaving the other 60% of children unattended. The majority die, because they did not have access to a treatment, others, because they opted for non-effective alternative methods, for others, their diagnosis and attention was to late, since sometimes the health instance that attended it is full of work.
For the 35% of children who manage to enter the public health care system, not everything is resolved. They will have to face the lack of opportunity for consultation, waiting, sometimes for weeks (due to lack of installed capacity and human resources) to begin receiving medical attention, which will not be comprehensive care, as the government agencies do not provide all the requirements of cancer protocol, due to the same lack of resources and equipment, which considerably reduces the chances of the child's cure. Thus, Mexico does not reaches the desired survival rates.
In Mexico, it is already the first cause of infant death by disease4, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 new cases of cancer of children under 18 years old each year(5). In Jalisco, in 2016, there were 1,839 new cases of children from 0 to 18 years old, mainly affecting children under 9 years old, with 1,191 cases(6).
Despite the view, thanks to science there is a solution, Childhood cancer is highly curable. Raise hope, embrace life, be light in the difficult path that children with cancer and their parents take. They need and deserve more places where to be attended, where they can receive their full treatment with quality care, emotional support and without having to wait for weeks for their turn.
With the confidence that 24 years of experience and prestige of helping children with cancer in the city of Guadalajara, Mi Gran Esperanza (My Great Hope) Foundation, has undertaken the most ambitious private social project that has ever been seen in the State of Jalisco; the construction of Mi Esperanza (My Hope) Hospital, for children with cancer.
Mi Esperanza Hospital (MEH), will be distinguished from other public and private medical centers for providing every low resource children, together with Mi Gran Esperanza Foundation, everything necessary for cure, from a first diagnosis, treatment (chemotherapy and radiation with linear accelerator), medications, specialized medical studies, surgeries, prosthetics, rehabilitation, dental and ophthalmological support, complementary nutrition, transfers, special accommodation for the bone marrow transplant patient; and his family, psychological and spiritual support that they require for cure, from a first diagnosis, treatment (chemotherapy and radiation with linear accelerator), medications, specialized medical studies, surgeries, prosthetics, rehabilitation, dental and ophthalmological support, complementary nutrition, transfers, special accommodation for the bone marrow transplant patient; and his family, psychological and spiritual support that they require.
It will have medical personnel specialized in pediatric patients, state-of-the-art technology and the capacity to administer 430 chemotherapies per month.
MEH, is a private medical institution with strict social meaning, unique in its kind, the result of the altruistic will of people committed to childhood. The Hospital provides services to any child with suspected or diagnosed cancer who has not been treated anywhere else. In order to function as a philanthropic effort for low resources children with cancer, it has the following means that contribute to economic sustainability:
- Donations provided by Mi Gran Esperanza Foundation to solve the treatments of low resources children with cancer. It is worth mentioning, that the Foundation is an Non-profit Organization, it is an authorized grantee and operates the activities of the Hospital.
- Payments of treatments of children with cancer that have economic solvency. MEH will also be able to attend children who have the possibility of paying. For this, socio-economic studies will be made and the costs of treatments will be lower than in the private consultation, for that reason the resource received for this concept will be reinvested in treatments for children who cannot afford payment.
- Income obtained from services opened to the public in general: external consultation, pharmacy, ophthalmologic surgery, dental care and laboratory, whose costs are lower than those charged by the private practice and are currently reinvested in the operating expenses of the Hospital, such as in the payment of services, fees and salaries.
- Strategic alliances with public and private institutions, such as insurers who promote the Hospital among their clients as a center of great quality and accesible price.
Since its inception, MEH has worked with international alliances, it maintains close communication with the MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston, TX, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute of Utah, some of the members of these institutions form the Medical Advisory Board of MEH.
MEH is one of the few oncological pediatric hospitals in Mexico. It is located on a 16,000 m2 land, granted in loan for 33 years (as of 2011), by the government of the State of Jalisco, with the approval of the local congress. It has a construction of 8,063m2 of which approximately 2,574 m2 are currently in operation, with comprehensive ophthalmology services, optics, dental care, external medicine, laboratory services, ambulatory chemotherapy, pharmacy and two ophthalmology operating rooms, which constitute their first stage of opening to the public. These services, with lower prices than the private medical market and similar quality, have allowed the operation and maintenance of the facilities until now.
The current investment has been more than MX$130,000,000 (US$6,500,000), that was received through financial donations, donations in kind, exchanges and discounts for its construction and equipment. It is intended that by means of donation campaigns, the remaining equipment and the necessary resources will be obtained to enable the rest of the Hospital, and this way, expand attention capacity.
The cost of the second phase of the Hospital, with an extension of 1,061 m2, require
US$550,000 for medical equipment.
The areas that are required to complete the equipment and installation in the second phase are listed below, which will be Child Oncology care and for which the support is currently requested:
- Ambulatory surgery área (for adults and children).
- Intensive care unit.
- Universal operating room.
- Shock room.
Mi Gran Esperanza Foundation has an Institutional Development Department that is responsible for designing and executing strategies that generate financial resources for the Hospital to exclusively cover the expenses of cancer patients with low resources. Hope is possible thanks to donations from individuals and companies, collect programs at different commercial establishments, promotion projects to convoke public and private organizations and events for dissemination and procurement of funds.
The Foundation recognizes its donors and volunteers who with their affection, dedication and generosity make possible the fulfillment of their mission. Volunteers who offer their virtues and contacts to organize events, obtain donations in kind or financial, patient support, among other activities. There is a patronage formed by volunteers who work tenaciously in the realization of special events such as golf tournaments, sport races, fashion shows, raffles, art auctions, bazaars, to raise funds for treatments.
It also receives support of collects and events made by companies, university students and schools that perform social service practices.
MEH has a solid institutional structure of government and operations, since it depends on its structure of Mi Gran Esperanza Foundation, authorized grantee that has a Proof of Fiscal Situation issued by the Tax Administration System (IRS in Mexico).
The Board of Directors is conformed by volunteers and of honorable reputations, committed to the cause, responsible for enforcing the mission and establishing the course of the Hospital.
The Medical Advisory Board is composed of prestigious doctors in their respective specialties who guide and support the MEH to conclude joint agreements for professional participation with specialized oncology centers in the country and abroad, arrange exchanges to subcontract treatments and studies with other institutions that have equipment or medical instruments that we do not have, and offer them the use of equipment and treatments that we have available.
The Administration Advisory Board is formed by expert volunteers in the area, who monitor, guide and seek best practices for the proper operation of the MEH.
Based on statistics, we know that most children with cancer in Mexico cannot get medical attention. Of the children detected with cancer, only 35% manage to access the public health system, however, sometimes they must wait for weeks to begin treatment and not only face the terrible waiting, but also receive the devastating news that they will not receive all that is needed to heal. It is well known that cancer cannot wait to receive the full treatment; if on time, it will make the difference between life and death.
Mi Esperanza Hospital has been characterized, since its foundation, as a non-profit institution that is born from the commitment and altruistic will to give life opportunities to children with cancer in Mexico, who have not got a place for their attention in the public health sector. This model is unique in the country.
The good news is that survival in childhood cancer in Mexico, although at the moment it is only 56%, can reach levels of 90%, same as in the US, if we join efforts to gather the necessary resources and contribute greatly to the fact that children die for lack of a place where they can receive all the necessary treatment.
It's a big challenge, but possible. You can be part of a life hope. Join your will and your desire to do something for someone else. Leave a legacy of life and provide the means for a child with cancer to embrace life, to be able to grow and be a Mexican who can do something for his country.
1 Jorge Huerta, M.D., Medical Chief of Mi Esperanza Hospital.
3 Rivera Luna R. Concept of diagnosis of cancer in childhood in: Diagnosis of the Child with Cancer. Rivera Luna editor. México, Mosby/Doyma, 1994, Pág. 3-8
4 INEGI, 2015.
5 National Center for the Health of Children and Adolescents. SSA. August, 2015.
6 Milenio. February 13th, 2017. Reference to the State Registry of Cancer.
MI ESPERANZA HOSPITAL Av. Del Cortijo # 440
Fraccionamiento Cortijo de San Agustín C.P. 45645
Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco
Ph. +52 (33) 3640-4050
MI GRAN ESPERANZA FOUNDATION www.migranesperanza.org
Facebook: MGE Mi Gran Esperanza AC
Ph. +52 (33) 3614-5050