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Public Health Doctors Are Protesting Their Working Conditions Across Mexico

The Yucatan Times
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June 25, 2016
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Doctors are protesting their working conditions in various Mexican cities. (hipertextual.com)

While the Mexican government continues to face protests by teachers against Educational Reform, officials now must deal with another front: doctors and nurses in the public health systems. Right now a national strike is happening in more than 80 cities, with which the community health sector seeks to voice the trouble spots of the practice of their profession.

In Mexico the health system is divided. Government workers are members of ISSSTE (funded between the government and workers), while workers of the private sector have the IMSS (paid by the government, and the share of both the worker and the employer). People’s Insurance exists for those who do not have any of the above, designed for Mexicans living in the informal economy. Each has a budget, hospitals, and clinics separately.

The Universal Health System, an initiative of President Enrique Peña Nieto — announced since 2013 — proposes that all public systems exchange resources for the 700 most common diseases among the Mexican population. That is, if a person has diabetes and for some reason the hospital or clinic that corresponds doesn’t have the human or material infrastructure to serve them, they could be treated in another hospital from another institution.

Doctors argue that this measure was enacted without consulting their union and without taking into account the differences and deficiencies of hospitals and clinics from the different affiliations, and that probably, many of them are not prepared to receive more patients.

In Mexico there are three levels of health care. In the highly specialized hospitals (level three) there usually is all that is needed, but entering them is difficult. Level two is composed of general hospitals, where Luis Guerrero — now a professor of medicine at UNAM — worked. He says they have started showing deficiencies: “We came to cancel surgeries because there weren’t enough sterilized clothes for patients”. Family care clinics, occupying the first level, often have shortages of medicines and materials due to mismanagement and corruption problems, requiring physicians to change treatment to fit to available drugs and not to the patient needs.

Read the rest at The Yucatan Times

Related: Tamaulipas: Where Doctors Won’t Go - Those Who do Go Are Kidnapped, Robbed or Intimidated and Leave (Mexico News Daily)

Related: Secret Deal Squeezes Mexico’s Pharmaceutical Drug Sector (WSJ.com)

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