Who would have thought you could get a basic health check up while you wait for your passport to be processed? But, that's a real option in the Treasure Valley.
The Mexican Consulate in Boise and Hailey act as official branches of the Mexican government. With President Enrique Pena Nieto's new focus on providing Latinos living in the U.S. access to basic health care, their resources are more broad and have been for seven years now. They have partnered with St. Luke's to offer free preventative services. In Boise, they are available every Friday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.
Magaly Carrillo studies political science at Boise State University. She has been living in the U.S. since she was 6-years-old. While she has health insurance, her mother does not. Nor does her mother speak much English. So, seeing the mobile health unit made it easy for a quick, health check with interpreters standing by.
"It was convenient because they went to the church and had those services there," she says. "And, since I had already had my experiences here at the consulate... I told my mom and she also went and got some things checked while at the after-mass."
Spreading the word on taboo topics within the culture like sexually transmitted disease testing and education on how to combat the growing trend of diabetes are other key components of the program.
"Sometimes there are recipes we have in the Latin culture that are really high in fat and not really that healthy but when you say, ' Hey, I make my own pozole "light,"' says Monica Flores, the St. Luke's health window coordinator at the Mexican Consulate in Boise. "You tell them those little tricks then it's an eye-opener for them."
"It has been a healing process between the government and the population," says Jorge Palomino with the Mexican Consulate community and press affairs office. "You offer them health insurance for their kids, for for themselves and try to bring up their quality of life, they become so grateful."
Free mammograms are offered once a year in Boise and that is coming up in the Summertime. College students can also apply for scholarships through the Mexican Consulate.
Information on all of the mobile health screening dates can be found on the Mexican Consulate's website https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/boise/ . The Idaho-based consulate covers a vast area including the majority of Idaho and half of Montana, along with counties in Oregon and Nevada.