Mexico shuts down urban clinics

Their purpose was to provide health services to the population with no social security that inhabits marginalized urban areas

Mexico shuts down urban clinics
These clinics provided services in marginalized areas - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 17/06/2019 12:33 Perla Miranda Mexico City Actualizada 12:53
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Doctors and nurses from the Medical Urban Units in 18 regions revealed they have been fired, in some cases without compensation; all of them were asked to vacate the facilities by June 15.

According to official documents signed by Gisela Juliana Lara Saldaña, the head of the IMSS-Bienestar program, announced that now that the Prospera program is coming to an end and it was transformed into a different program, the IMSS-Bienestar will no longer receive the resources allocated for Prospera, therefore, the Medical Urban Units will have to close.

According to official documents that explain the infrastructure of the IMSS-Bienestar, there are 315 Medical Urban Units distributed in 28 states. Their main purpose is to provide health services to the population with no social security that inhabits marginalized urban areas; the staff in each medical unit is formed by a team of one doctor, two nurses, a community action promoter, an administrator, and a secretary.

Nevertheless, on May 26, Zoé Robledo, the head of the institute, mentioned that the program has 4,086 medical units, and 15 of those units are part of the Medical Urban Units programs. Nevertheless, he didn't explain what happened to the other 300.

That same day, Robledo claimed there would be no staff cuts at the IMSS, nevertheless, EL UNIVERSAL detected that the closing of Medical Urban Units in Puebla, Guanajuato, Morelos, Sonora, San Luis Potosí, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Veracruz, Michoacán, Tlaxcala, Ciudad de México, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, the State of Mexico, and Campeche.

An employee who worked at one of the clinics for over 10 years told EL UNIVERSAL about the mistreatment they suffered, the unsuitable working conditions, and how the closing of these clinics will affect the most vulnerable sector in Mexican society.

“We have no social security, we are hired through labor fees, we have no labor seniority, many times our payments were late (but) that never mattered, and now we are dismissed without a severance payment, there is no possibility to relocate us and the worst is that people who came here to control their diabetes, hypertension, monitor their pregnancy or in a preventative way no longer have those services,” said Tania Rincón, a nurse who worked at one of these clinics in Mexico City.

Octavio Méndez, a doctor, said that some of his colleagues were offered a job at a rural clinic but there are very few positions if you compare them to the number of professionals who were fired; also, the panorama is even more complicated for nurses.

In Veracruz, doctor Miguel Martínez González explained that there were 19 Medical Urban Units in the north of the state, which provided healthcare services for 44,677 patients.

“Currently, all the units no longer provide services. We don't even know what to tell people: they asked where would they be treated, but we weren't told any details, we were only asked to vacate the facilities. In regards to us, we never had social security or any other work benefit,” explained the doctor.

Staff from the clinics located in the state of Mexico, Michoacán, Campeche, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala said that they haven't received their salary for two months and that in order to receive their payment, they were asked to make an inventory of the materials in each clinic and vacate the facilities.

Official documents show that on July 10, all the information in regards to these clinics will be deleted and all the budget will be reassigned to the rural clinics.


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