Over the last twenty years, the Zapatista movement has made great strides in improving health in the indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico. The Zapatistas have formed and trained a state-wide health network, educating rural communities in family healthcare and preventative medicine. You can help this impressive effort by giving a Gift of Change in support of Zapatista health care.
In many isolated, rural Zapatista villages, the community chooses a volunteer to train to become the local ‘healthcare promoter’. The volunteer learns to use both traditional knowledge and modern medicine through a series of workshops at Zapatista-organized regional health centers. The healthcare promoter is based out of a community-built casa de salud (house of health) which is located in the village. Because the health promoter is a known member of the community, they are already familiar and trusted by the community and able to provide an invaluable service. Many Zapatista municipalities have constructed health centers capable of providing comprehensive health care to the local population -Zapatista and non-Zapatista alike.
In several of the five Zapatista zones there are now fully equipped modern hospitals with operating rooms, hospital beds, blood analysis, vaccination programs, eye glass manufacturing, and dental services. A few of these advanced health centers are equipped with ambulances to respond to medical emergencies. Local, regional and zonal healthcare centers have pharmacies offering both traditional herbal medicines and commercial patent medicines, often free of charge or at minimum price.
One of several ways Schools for Chiapas supports the Zapatista healthcare is through support and facilitation of educational workshops on medicinal plants. Schools for Chiapas also maintains a fund, known as the Ramona Fund, to provide financial support for emergency medical response, which directly saves lives.