COVID-19: Mexico’s Health Ministry calls trainee doctors to return to work

Mexico lacks an important number of doctors and nurses to face the pandemic

COVID-19: Mexico’s Health Ministry calls trainee doctors to return to work
Several universities removed their students from hospitals after PPE shortages - Photo: Ulises Ruíz/AFP
English 30/04/2020 09:17 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 11:44
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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Ministry asked medical students and trainee doctors to return to hospitals, after two major universities, the UNAM and IPN, announced that they asked their students not to show up at hospitals in early March because there was a lack of equipment and training. 

In 2018, the country registered around 133,000 medical students; 26,000 of them were trainee doctors already working in hospitals throughout the country. For example, UNAM’s Medicine School has 1,055 students registered as trainee doctors in 76 public hospitals.

Now that the Health Ministry asked the students to return to hospitals, after removing doctors over 60 to protect them from the virus, to treat non-coronavirus related cases, there is still a chance that they will treat an asymptomatic patient or a suspected case. Moreover, the situation reflects the lack of doctors and the fact that the health system is based on the services provided by medical students.  

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This is why the Health Ministry was asked trainee doctors to return to work to treat patients with different illnesses, however, they are still at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus

In public hospitals, trainee doctors turn into a pillar for the health system, as said by Dr. Hugo López-Gatell, who said their absence from public hospitals would reduce the response capacity against COVID-19.

The request was made while Mexico enters the most critical stage of the pandemic but will they be provided with the proper equipment? Or will these young students be exposed to a highly contagious disease without PPE?

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