President López Obrador says Mexico needs 123,000 more doctors to cover the country’s needs.
“There are 270,600 general practitioners in the country, and according to international norms, we should have 393,600 doctors,” he said during a visit to a rural hospital in Michoacán on Saturday. “That means we’re 123,000 doctors short.”
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a country should have one doctor for every 333 residents. Based on a 2017 World Bank estimate, Mexico has only one doctor for every 477 people.
The president added that the shortage of doctors is related to low admission rates at universities for medicine programs.
“That’s why there’s a shortage,” he said. “We need more general practitioners, we need more specialists.”
He said 13,000 people applied for admission to the faculty of medicine at the National Autonomous University, but only 216 were accepted. The most popular career choice among prospective students is that of a surgeon. In February, López Obrador said, there were 11,198 applicants for 140 places.
He said the new National Institute of Health for Well-Being will work with universities to train more doctors.
The institute, which has not yet been approved by Congress, will operate with a budget of 80 billion pesos (US $4.2 billion) and replace the Seguro Popular, offering medical services to people who are not covered by social security.