In rural Mexico, where one in every four children is malnourished, Dr. Andrés Randazzo has stepped outside his medical role to tackle health problems through simple eco-technologies that provide families with basic necessities such as clean water and adequate housing.
Andrés was trained as a medical doctor in Argentina during a time of military repression and saw many of his university friends killed for participating in social and political causes. When he left Argentina, Andrés developed a deep indignation as he observed social injustice during many years of work in Latin America and Asia. He witnessed immense poverty and poor health, participated as a doctor working within various health care systems, and observed that simple technology solutions make basic necessities such as food and shelter more affordable.
When Andrés came to Mexico 10 years ago, he applied his research techniques and best practices to improve nutritional outcomes in rural Mexico. To achieve this end, he started and ran SANUT, building a network of trained community health workers who offered workshops and training programs to community women. But as Andrés visited these rural communities, he saw that children were malnourished not because their parents didn’t care or understand but because they didn’t have the basic infrastructure for clean, boiled water. He had seen simple solutions in his years of travels, and imported them, only to find them too expensive and labor intensive. He soon saw that this seemed to be the missing ingredient from other prevention oriented health programs. When SANUT won a major health prize in 2001, he used the publicity to approach Mexican government authorities. In the years since, he has traveled throughout Mexico, identifying local representatives of national organizations who could adopt and implement his work locally. This work has since become his passion and the focus of his life. He foresees an overhaul in the Mexican health system, resulting in a stronger and more effective emphasis on prevention.