At least eight federally-run community hospitals in the Montaña region of Guerrero have been short of specialist doctors for over 10 years, according to a report by the newspaper Reforma.
The region is made up of approximately 20 largely indigenous municipalities near the southern state’s border with Oaxaca and Puebla. Among the municipalities where hospitals lack the specialists they need are Tlacoapa and Tlapa.
Tlacoapa’s hospital was rebuilt after it was ravaged by hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013. The rebuilt facility opened last July, but 10 months later it still doesn’t have the medical personnel it needs.
Federal health authorities have advertised for a pediatrician, gynecologist, general surgeon, anesthesiologist and internal medicine doctor but have been unable to fill the positions.
Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, said the new hospital was useless without medical personnel to treat people’s health problems.
The community hospital in Tlapa is in a similar situation: former health official Marcelino Milán Rosete, a doctor in Tlapa, said that specialists are required for all three shifts.
“A pediatrician, anesthesiologist, gynecologist and surgeon are needed for each shift. We’re talking about a total of 12 specialists for a hospital that operates 24 hours a day,” he said.
Milán said the government has failed to attract specialists because the salaries it offers are too low.
“They’re offering a specialist doctor a salary of 22,000 pesos [US $1,100] a month to come and work in a hospital in the Montaña region, when in Mexico City and other states they pay 50,000 pesos [just over US $2,500],” he said.
Among the other Guerrero municipalities where hospitals have lacked specialists are Alcozauca, Malinaltepec and Olinalá.
The federal government recently announced that it would hire more than 500 Cuban doctors due to a shortage of Mexican doctors. The medical community denied there was a shortage, and some doctors say they can’t find work in urban or rural areas.
With reports from Reforma