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MEXICO: Medical care in rural areas

Lillian Winkler, MD, gives us this information about medical care in rural areas of Mexico; "As part of the medical school program , the last year entails going to rural villages with the populations of 5000 or less for a year. Nowadays the physician has taken all his exams and has had a year of an internship in a hospital. He or she may be working with the social security (IMSS or ISSSTE) institutions for white and blue collar workers, in which case he has more technological support and maybe works in a little hospital , but others work for the SSA, which is for indigents. There he has to rely on his clinical abilities and his brains. The few patients who need 2nd or 3rd level medical care have to be sent in an ambulance or by taxi or bus, and only occasionally by air. Actually this method of taking medical care to rural areas is quite efficient as it covers prevention, and solves most of the diseases that are seen on a daily basis. Infectious diseases predominate over degenerative diseases . Our main limitations are due to lack of funds".

My comment: The problem is of such a magnitude that the system may be overwhelmed. I would appreciate comments from someone like Linda Nyquist who has seen the system working.

Ronald Hilton - 5/25/02