History

Binational Health Week is a mobilization of efforts by community organizations, federal and state agencies, and volunteers to improve the health and well-being of the Latin American migrant population in the United States, which is conducted annually in all 50 states of the American Union.


Since its beginning in 2001, the Secretariats of Health and Foreign Affairs of Mexico, through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, under the leadership of its consular network, have led this effort with the collaboration of the then Initiative of Health Mexico - California, now the Americas Health Initiative, of the University of California at Berkeley. Throughout its history, the SBS has served as a catalyst for coordinated and sustained community organizations and government agencies of the U.S., Mexico and other Latin American countries. The SBS is based on the premise that improving the health of migrants, not only benefits this population, also has major social and economic implications both host communities and countries of origin. The health of a country is also the health of its migrants.


Annually, and because of the success they have had these activities in the United States, other countries have joined to expand the assistance to their communities, as were the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Peru. It is supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Departments of Public Health and Human Services in the United States, several state and local health departments, as well as foundations, clinics, health centers, civil organizations and other health agencies.


During the month of October, activities are carried out through fairs, courses and workshops where the migrant population is approached for health services through guidance on prevention and promotion of health, timely detection (glucose, Body mass, eye exams, HIV screening), among others.


Some of these activities promotes the community solidarity through the mobilization of existing resources and the organization of volunteers that working together toward a common goal, and that events are organized by networks integrated for agencies and community organizations in order to reach the most vulnerable and needy, especially those without health insurance.


All these activities are coordinated with the Health Windows (Ventanillas de Salud) of each of the consulates of Mexico in the United States, through collaboration with agencies Prosecutors, Civil Society Organizations, local and municipal governments, universities, public hospitals and community centers in various parts of the American Union.