MODESTO — Teofilo Soto, 60, found out about the Oct. 11 health fair just three days prior, but was early to get in line. It had been more than two years since he’d gotten any type of medical check-up, mainly because his insurance didn’t cover the cost of a specialist.
"I want to check my teeth and get an eye exam; I feel well overall, with only a few aches and pains due to age," said Soto as he waited his turn in the busy line of specialists who attended the event during the Binational Health Week held at Hanshaw Middle School.
For the most part, adults and elderly people without insurance and low incomes took advantage of the services that were offered by more than 30 health agencies, organizations and 250 volunteers in the Modesto edition of national health fairs throughout the country as an effort coordinated by Mexican Consulates.
With an organization worth mentioning and a family-friendly environment, hundreds of people attended Hanshaw Middle School where they were able to receive pediatric health services, eye exams, dental exams, general check-ups, blood pressure exams, blood-sugar level tests and acupuncture at no cost.
María de Jesús and José Peráz, a married couple, both almost 70 years old, admitted that they went to the event to apply for the converter boxes for digital television, but when they learned about the health services, they took advantage and participated in the diabetes and arthritis prevention and care workshops. They have suffered from that for some time now.
"I worked in the fields most of my life and when I stopped doing it, I got many illnesses; the good thing is that I have them well controlled and I take care of myself," explained Peráz. "These health fairs should take place more often, especially for us, the elderly, who are in need and don’t have much money to spend on medicines and doctors."
Mexican Consul in Sacramento Alejandra Bologna praised the job of Health Net and El Concilio for coordinating the health fair and for the collaboration from all of those responsible for the event.
"We came here to live a dream, but without good health, we can’t achieve it, that’s why we have to take care of ourselves," said Bologna as she emphasized the importance of preventive health care.
According to Rebeca Vargas from Golden Valley Health Center, during a month’s period, more than a thousand low-income people have been checked for health issues that could have been prevented with good care. Nonetheless, the number of cases can increase with unemployment and lack of access to health services that could come with the current economic situation.
Perhaps that is why people such as Rosalinda Jeréz have taken interest in visiting acupuncturists from the Tzu Chi Medical Fundation, who also offered consultations during the health fair.
"In a television report they said that the needles can cure many illnesses. I feel a bit sick from my pressure and my nerves; therefore, I’m going to try it and see what it feels like; maybe it will help me feel better," said Jeréz.