29 April 2008

No Swine Flu in SOS Children's Villages-Mexico But Precautions Taken

Children at the SOS Children's Village Tehuacan in Mexico
Children at the SOS Children's Village Tehuácan in Mexico

04/29/09 - SOS Children's Villages operates eight villages across Mexico. So far, no local SOS children or staff have contracted the swine flu virus, also known as A/H1N1. Nonetheless, SOS-Mexico is taking firm measures to protect its SOS mothers, children, and the families it serves.

Mexico seems to be the virus's epicenter. To date, swine flu has killed more than 150 people in that country and sickened some 2,400. Many infected people outside of Mexico appear to have contracted it while visiting there. The illness is curable if treated quickly with antiviral medicine.

Safeguarding SOS Children from Harm

The measures that SOS staff in Mexico are carrying out ensure that:

  • SOS children, SOS mothers and aunts (mothers' assistants), and coworkers wear surgical masks in common areas or outside the family home.
  • Outsiders restrict their visits to the villages and wear surgical masks.
  • Children stay within the village and mothers avoid markets and public places if possible.
  • Mothers and aunts check children and report any symptoms immediately
  • Mothers teach children and youth how to avoid the virus.

In the Children's Villages in Comitán, Mexican health authorities vaccinated SOS workers, families, and children against influenza. In Tehuácan, SOS staff cancelled all activities in community centers. Food donations are being cut back. To avoid waste, staff distributed this week's food rations ahead of time to needy local families.

SOS Children's Villages Needs More Surgical Masks

SOS's precautionary measures echo those being taken across Mexico. To curb the proliferation of swine flu, the Mexican government plans to close schools, acquire 400,000additional doses of antiviral drugs, and distribute surgical masks on public transport.

Because of high demand, supply of surgical masks is running out in Mexico. The directors of the SOS Children's Villages in Mexico have requested more surgical masks from the Mexican authorities. At the same time, SOS-Mexico is seeking support from international organizations to send surgical masks for distribution among children and staff in SOS Children's Villages.

During these uncertain times, if you would like to help a child in Ecuador secure a warm home, a full stomach, and a bright future, consider sponsoring an SOS child.