When technical innovation serves cancer patients

In the heart of Yucatan, Mexico, there is a foundation managing a medical centre for cancer patients. After choosing solar energy to power its facilities, the foundation is now involved in completing a water pumping and treatment plant to supply centre residents, and beyond that, future patients.

Humanitarian & Development

San Jose de Baca, Yucatán, Mexico

David Colon

€70,000 for the Selection Committee on 13/10/2016

Project Leader

Fundación por el Bienestar Natural A.C. (Fundebien)

In San José de Barca, near Merida, Mexico, the Fundación por el Bienestar Natural A.C. (Fundebien) treats people suffering from cancer who do not have sufficient resources to confront it. It manages a medical centre in Northern Yucatan where it owns 20 hectares of untouched nature. Over the past ten years, it has helped about 4,000 patients, using natural therapies that foster an improved physical and psychic condition, which are dispensed in addition to their conventional treatment. 
The Fundebien is also committed to obeying a sustainable development approach. It has equipped its facilities with solar energy, and now wants to produce its own drinking water for its patients. Most Mexican water has a very high mineral content. Fundebien wants its new drinking water to have low mineral content. It prefers this kind of drinking water because of its physical-chemical and sanitary properties which are believed to promote better toxin elimination. The project which the Veolia Foundation is supporting consists in setting up a pumping and treatment plant for underground water originating in cenotes (natural subterranean wells).
The water plant is to be scaled to not only meet the requirements in drinking water for the medical centre’s patients, but also to bottle the water for local distribution outside. The proceeds from the sale of this water will provide additional revenue and boost the centre’s financial self-sufficiency.
Lastly, from a technical aspect, the plant could act as a pilot facility for the treatment of water with very high manganese content, a feature specific to the waters in this region. The procedure which the foundation chose consists in treating the pumped water using low-pressure reverse osmosis to help eliminate iron and manganese. This represents a technical innovation for the wellness of cancer patients.

“I was very impressed with the outstanding quality and organisation underlying this Foundation. The Fundebien provides extraordinary care and attention to patients from the entire region, free of charge. Water is at the core of the therapy, for it is a natural diuretic: patients are asked to carry a bottle at all times. That is why the Fundebien’s self-sufficiency in water is a key factor in retaining its operational and financial autonomy.” David Colon