tijuana health crisis and the refugee health alliance

January 28, 2021. By Ethan Tam '22

In Tijuana, refugees and asylum seekers are stuck with few access to healthcare. The Refugee Health Alliance provides free aid to migrants at 2 clinics at the border. However, due to the pandemic, the RHA’s supplies and volunteers have run low, while the demand for aid has dramatically increased. The SI community needs to spread awareness of this health crisis and donate if possible.

The Apogee Report is excited to announce that the Ignatian Health Expansion Initiative (IHEI) will begin this semester. We will highlight health crises around the world that are not well known in the U.S. and ask for the SI community’s aid and compassion as Ignatians for these issues.

In Tijuana, a border city in Mexico, refugees and asylum seekers are stuck with few resources as they flee from violence in their home countries. Some men, women, and children choose not to seek healthcare, afraid of potentially being caught and deported further. As a result, many individuals cannot receive healthcare, a fundamental human right.

However, in 2018, the Refugee Health Alliance (RHA) was founded in response to the increasing needs at the US-Mexico Border. They built two clinics: Resistencia en Salud and Justicia en Salud, providing completely free primary, urgent, mental, sexual, and family healthcare to all migrants. Collaborating with volunteers, clinicians, undergraduate/graduate students, and more advocates, the RHA depends on the public for monetary aid to continue purchasing medical supplies and providing basic needs.

Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the RHA’s work has become increasingly strained and difficult, as main public hospitals are at 150% capacity and many volunteers are unable to come out and help. Additionally, supplies are running out; the RHA currently needs 75 crucial medications and equipment needed to continue administering aid.

Little advocacy for the RHA and the migrants have been done in the United States recently, as politics and COVID-19 have often taken the spotlight in the media. However, we can take the first steps of advocacy in the Bay Area at SI. Learn more about the health crisis at the border and teach others what is happening. In addition, please donate if possible; The RHA currently is over $12,000 away from their GoFundMe. The Apogee Report will be soon hosting a fundraiser for the RHA, open for both students and parents to donate.

As St. Ignatius of Loyola said,

“O my God, teach me to be generous,

teach me to serve you as I should,

to give without counting the cost,

to fight without fear of being wounded,

to work without seeking rest,

to labour without expecting any reward,

but the knowledge that I am doing your most holy will.”