Mexico is a country with an increasing inequality and its health system is not excluded. Public and rpivate institutions and efforts are not enough for a 122 million people country. Therefore, having access to health care is a privilege for only some.

Access to public health care institutions is restricted for rights holders. There are three ways of being a rights holder. The first is being a government employee, the second option is for an individual to be subscribed by its employer to the social security system, and the third is being granted with a spot in one of the government social security and health care programs. None of the above will secure prompt attention with equipped facilities or sufficient staff.

Access to private health care institutions is reserved for those with enough economic and financial capabilities to afford the high costs of these facilities. Private health care tends to be well equipped, well-staffed and with good specialty physicians.

What happens if you need to see a doctor?
In the Public Sector, if you are a rights holder, your first contact will be a general MD or a student supervised by a general MD who will prescribe or transfer you to a specialty MD when needed. In both cases, it will take time and lots of waiting.

In the Private Sector, general or specialty MDs are reachable within a shorter and more reasonable time-frame.

Who decides what doctors can prescribe?
COFEPRIS is the Mexican agency for preventing sanitary risks. It analyses and approves new products, services and other items related to human consumption. COFEPRIS, together with the Health Ministry, decide and regulate all prescription pharmaceuticals.

Practically, what is it like to live with type 1 diabetes in Mexico?
Differences between diabetes types are unknown to most people. In general, people with diabetes in Mexico are passively discriminated against and struggle for medical and non-medical care. This discrimination varies from restricting access to diabetes education, to increasing costs of insulin and reading devices/accessories. This lack of education endangers people with diabetes and their family’s peace of mind.

Diabetes is an expensive condition and sometimes, even people with privileged economic situations find it hard to acquire the right care, the specialized advice, the right diet, the right medicines, etc. In summary, it is difficult to have a good quality of life. For people without social security and a fixed income, living with diabetes is usually just trying to survive.

What about getting admitted to hospital?
In the Public Sector, hospital beds are completely insufficient. If you are lucky to get availability, admission will depend on the seriousness of the disease, hence, no bed is guaranteed in the Public Sector.

In the Private Sector, prior to getting admitted, an open voucher has to be signed as a warranty. The amount of this warranty will depend on the insurance level and seriousness of the disease. There are usually always enough hospital beds in the Private Sector.

How does diabetes care vary throughout Mexico?
Mexico covers 1.973 million square kilometres and is divided into 32 states with several differences of cultures, customs, dietary habits, education, income and, of course, public services. Capital cities are most likely to have access to health care related to diabetes; however this care is not enough.

The lack of diabetes education is spread among the country, hence the high speed rise in incidence rates. Prevention programs are completely controlled by the food industry with the consent of the agencies. Misinformation between diabetes types is common in Mexico.

Several efforts are made by non-profits, but these efforts are not sufficient. Creating awareness, efficient prevention campaigns, #insulin4all and reachable diabetes education programs is still a challenge for most of those involved in diabetes care.

Thank you to Manuel García Ortega who collected and shared this information with us.

To learn more about diabetes in Mexico, check out our blog post: