IMSS-Bienestar Adds Traditional Medicine Programs
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IMSS-Bienestar Adds Traditional Medicine Programs

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Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 03/14/2023 - 12:04

IMSS-Bienestar is implementing strategies to promote and preserve traditional medical practices. This administration has invested over MX$10 million (US$530,690) to support 129 promoters of traditional medicine to implement prevention and diffusion activities in communities. 

Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine (T&CM) is an important part of health care, as reported by WHO. Since 2018, 170 WHO Member States have acknowledged they use T&CM, as reported by MBN

“Thanks to traditional medicine, humanity has managed to survive what has always threatened the physical, spiritual and emotional integrity of the human being,” says Jorge Alcocer, Mexico's Minister of Health. 

Mexico’s National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) has made efforts to promote traditional medicine. INPI and IMSS-Bienestar aim to promote access to health services without discrimination among indigenous and Afro-Mexican people. Meanwhile, the organizations are working to safeguard the recognition and inclusion of traditional medicine in the public health system and to promote research on herbs, medicine and traditional practices. IMSS-Bienestar also aims to strengthen traditional midwifery to increase access to culturally relevant healthcare. 

As the number of births increases in Mexico, the need to diversify labor alternatives rises. Since 1979, there has been a collaboration between midwives and Mexican health services. Currently, over 7,000 midwives offer services within the IMSS-Bienestar program. They promote the use of contraceptive methods, give guidance on pregnancy care, support low-risk pregnancies and promote breastfeeding, among other activities. Midwives are essential to the Mexican health system as they serve as the linguistic link with indigenous communities. “In 2022, midwives were responsible for the care of 5% of all pregnancies that occurred within the IMSS-Bienestar system,” says Zoé Robledo, Director General, IMSS.

Through the justice and regional development plans of indigenous peoples, actions focused on community health and the promotion of traditional medicine have been carried out, supporting 26 indigenous communities through traditional medicine projects. In this administration, over MX$28 million (US$1.49 million) have been invested to support 164 projects to strengthen and practice traditional medicine. Also, 256 community promoters with knowledge in traditional medicine have been supported in 24 states.

In addition, during this six-year term, the Capulalpam Traditional Medicine Hospital was opened in Oaxaca and two health centers were built in Guerrero. According to Robledo, the expansion of the IMSS-Bienestar has increased the integration of traditional medicine in public health services. Currently, IMSS-Bienestar operates in 13 states such as Michoacan, Veracruz and Sonora, with Hidalgo starting to adopt it.

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