senior citizens Geriatricians are well outnumbered.

There aren’t enough doctors to go round

Mexico has 11 million seniors but just 400 geriatricians

The federal agency charged with looking after the needs of the elderly is concerned about one aspect of caring for seniors: there aren’t enough specialized doctors to serve the population.

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The director of Inapam, the National Institute for the Elderly, says Mexico has more than 11 million “older adult persons” but only 400 geriatricians, physicians who specialize in treating seniors.

Furthermore, said Aracely Escalante Jasso, most work privately, and some areas of the country have no geriatricians at all.

Inapam recently signed an accord for collaboration with the Inter-American University for Development to enable Inapam affiliates to study for a degree and for its students to carry out their social service work with the agency.

According to two health-related websites in the United States, the ideal ratio of geriatricians is one for every 300 to 700 “older adults.” In the United States it was estimated in 2013 that there was one geriatrician for every 870 older people.

In Mexico, according to Inapam’s figures, the ratio is currently one for every 27,500, and it’s not going to get any better.

Escalante Jasso says the number of elderly persons is expected to have doubled by 2030, to 22 million.

She says the shortage of geriatricians is worrying, and suggests that the issue needs to be raised in schools, universities and the health sector to encourage young people to consider studying geriatrics.

The World Health Organization has estimated that Mexico needs 4,000 geriatricians, 10 times more than it has.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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