National Doctor’s Day: Mexico in NumbersBy Miriam Bello | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 17:30
Oct. 23 is Mexico’s National Doctor’s Day. Amid the pandemic, the world has witnessed the true vocation of many medical professionals sacrificing themselves to confront COVID-19. According to the Ministry of Health, Mexico has 277,287 general doctors exercising their profession, meaning that the country has 2.1 doctors for every 1,000 people. President López Obrador shared at the beginning of the year that in this sense, Mexico is lacking 123,000 doctors, from which 76,000 should be specialists.
A general doctor in Mexico earns around MX$10,125 (US$485.31) per month, which is MX$62.31 (US$2.99) per hour worked. A specialist earns approximately MX$18,000 (US$ 862.78) per month or MX$111 (US$5.32) per hour. This can be more or less depending on their level of expertise and area of care.
In Mexico, 72 percent of the total number doctors work in the public sector. Meanwhile, doctor specialists work largely in the private sector. Approximately 55 percent of these specialists are concentrated in Mexico City, State of Mexico, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato and Puebla.
In 2018, according to the National Institute for Public Health, Mexico had 1.1 medical specialist for every 1,000 people and most of them focused on seven areas: family medicine, anesthesiology, pediatrics, gynecology, surgery and emergency medicine. Four percent of specialists in the country dedicate to Mexico’s historic disease burden. A study by Letras Libres states that the largest labor force at hospitals are resident doctors. In 2015, there were 22,613 of them working in the sector and earning around MX$8,014 per month.
German Fajardo, Director of UNAM’s School of Health Sciences, told MBN that admissions to a medical specialty is one of the reasons for the country’s shortage of such indispensable professionals. According to Fajardo 18,000 doctors graduate per year and most of them look forward to entering a specialty by completing the National Exam of Candidates to Medical Residences (ENARM). “Mexico has a large number of general doctors; passing the ENARM test and then finding a job is the challenge. Many of these doctors end up working at one of the 20,000 pharmacy-adjacent offices in Mexico.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The Lancet published the morbidity figures among healthcare workers around the world resulting from COVID-19 contagions. By September, Mexico reported 1,320 deaths of medical professionals. It is unclear what percentage of these deaths were doctors. In that same month, Mexico had 97,632 medical professionals who tested positive for COVID-19, from which 42 percent were nurses, 27 percent were doctors and the remaining 31 percent of them were part of the administrative staff or quartermasters.
Today, President López Obrador thanked doctors in Mexico for their job at the front line of the pandemic and their everyday efforts as care providers. This year's Medical Merit Award was given to Aura Argentina Erazo Valle Solís for her "very broad experience as an oncologist, rigorous research in her specialty and the training of several generations of specialists during her 52 years at ISSSTE’s Centro Medico 20 de Noviembre" said Lopez Obrador. In addition to two accolades and 12 health awards in the field of medicine, chemistry, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and other areas, "a posthumous tribute will be paid to Guillermo Soberón." Soberón was a doctor, chemists and academic who served as Rector of UNAM, he made several contributors to higher education, healthcare, science and culture. Through his professional career, he contributed to health policies from the government.