hospital For many, hospitals and clinics are places to avoid.

Fear of Covid blamed for massive decline in reports of common ailments

Mexicans are avoiding the risk of infection and going without treatment

Thousands of Mexicans suffering from common illnesses are avoiding seeking treatment for fear of becoming infected with coronavirus.

Despite the risks these types of conditions carry, diagnoses of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, intestinal infections, acute respiratory ailments and tuberculosis, among others, are at an all time low due to the focus the health sector has placed on combating covid-19.

New cases of many diseases historically affecting Mexicans have fallen by 40% in the last year compared to those reported in 2019. There are concerns that obesity, high blood pressure and acute respiratory infections, which have for years killed thousands of Mexican citizens, are now going without treatment.

The latter have shown the biggest decline in reported cases, dropping from 23.7 million in 2019 to 13.7 million last year. Consultations for respiratory problems in general declined 42%.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, and in line with advice from major health organizations, the government has used most public hospitals to treat coronavirus patients, aiming to avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed. But attention has subsequently been taken away from those with other illnesses.

“Yes there is disruption because everything is focused on Covid-19 and other services are not being carried out; I can imagine that when they start to produce the data, the vaccination coverage of Mexican children will have suffered because their parents did not take them to be treated and all these prevention issues will have to be endured,” explained Dr. Carlos Magis Rodríguez, a researcher and professor at the National Autonomous University.

The reduction of health services as well as government advice for people to stay at home if they showed any flu or cold like symptoms has meant that face-to-face appointments have been scarce and those who became unwell had to rely on remote consultations.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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