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Roundtable

How are you Contributing to Addressing the Need for Doctors and Specialists?

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 11:14

Among the many challenges the healthcare sector faces, there is a growing need for trained professionals. The problem is expected to become even more pronounced as the population ages and gains weight. The country needs to train and attract the necessary talent to achieve its health goals. However, training requires combined efforts from multiple fronts, including universities, the government, recruiters and private companies. Mexico Health Review interviewed the top universities in Mexico and other talent experts to understand where the gaps are and what programs are best suited to generate the needed skills for up-and-coming health professionals.

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German Fajardo

Director
NAM School of Health Sciences

Rather than a lack of specialists, I think doctors are badly distributed. On average, there are two to three doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. However, in cases like Mexico City, the concentration of doctors can be three times higher than in other regions. This disparity should be addressed not only by universities but also through the National Health System. Around 8,000 doctors graduate from a specialty in Mexico every year but the available university placements are determined based on hospitals’ vacancies instead of the actual needs of the national population. Ideally, the government should have a way of organizing the country’s local and national health needs to have a clear idea of how many doctors and specialists are required by state, which would make it easier to distribute them.

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Miguel Ángel Celis

Director
INNN

Mexico does not train enough specialists in neurology to address the needs of its population. The country has only 10 training centers for neurosurgery and about 13 for neurology. Moreover, specialists are often unable to work outside the largest cities in Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. We are betting on telemedicine to increase access to care. We provide several online training courses for health professionals. The institute has 16 rooms equipped for telemedicine and two videoconference rooms thanks to a MX$20 million (US$1.04 million) donation from the Public Charity Administration.

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Abelardo Meneses

Director General
INCan

In Mexico, there are around 347,000 doctors. However, only around 2,195 are specialized in cancer management. According to estimates, there should be 20 medical oncologists for every million inhabitants. This means that Mexico has only one-fifth of the required number. There are around 164 medical schools in the country and until three years ago, only 10 percent included oncology in their syllabus, even though cancer is the third-leading cause of death in the country. INCan has taken on the task of talking with the deans and faculty directors of these universities to introduce oncology to their curricula. So far, we have signed a collaboration agreement with 50 medical schools to strengthen their oncology programs. Our goal is for all medical schools to have oncology programs within five years.