Produced by KQED's community correspondents, ouRXperience was launched with the idea that the best way to learn about the health lives of our communities is to give voice to community members themselves. Read more about our blog here.
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The blog ouRXperience is reported by our community correspondents: involved residents committed to informing the rest of us about what is happening in neighborhoods across California. Learn more about our correspondents here.
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Category Archives: Mendota
United Health Centers of Mendota broke ground on their expansion site in September, just a few feet from their present clinic. The new clinic will total 12,000 square feet and will provide both state-of-the-art medical equipment, space for three dental care providers and one optometry room.
Recently, my friend Eddie Valencia, 27, mentioned a tightness in his chest. Eddie does not have asthma or other respiratory problems. But he was pretty sure he knew what was causing his symptoms. “It could have been the four and a half hours I spent with two other guys from my work, cleaning out a tank with chlorine with nothing more than gloves in the form of protective gear.”
I advised Eddie of the potential long-term effects of chlorine exposure and told him to contact Poison Control.
Many Mendota residents go to Mexico or El Salvador for medical care. But unlike Sigala, for many people the issue is cost. Fernando Gomez recalls taking his parents on the long drive to seek health care in Mexico because they lacked sufficient health insurance.
“We took a few 24 hour drives up and back to pick up certain medications that were not covered by our health insurer. While we were there a family member used the visit to have dental work done. But, the dental office and the surrounding businesses, restaurants included, had no hot water,” he says. Gomez wondered how clean these places could be if there was no hot water.
The city of Mendota is located in the heart of California’s fertile Central Valley. Originally a railroad station built in 1891, and later incorporated as a city in 1942, it’s nestled in western Fresno County 40 miles west of the city of Fresno. The railroad closed the station in 1910 and agriculture took over as the major industry for employment in the area. A city now known as “The Cantaloupe Center of the World,” with a population estimated at 11,014 residents, over 95 percent of the population is Latino and 50 percent are foreign born. With nearly half the community being immigrant farm workers, there is a clear separation amongst the residents which is further exaggerated by a communication barrier on how to improve Mendota from within.