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Health Care in Mexico

Mexico's socio-economic disparities and regional variations in living conditions are also reflected in the health conditions of its population. Regionally, the areas inhabited by Mexico's indigenous peoples have relatively higher mortality rates and lower general health conditions.
Also general health conditions are low in rural areas in comparison to the cities and other urban centers. However, in the cities there is a pronounced difference in health standards among the various social classes. Poor sanitary conditions and lack of access to basic amenities like clean drinking water is one of the main reasons for the relatively higher prevalence of disease and mortality rates among Mexico's less privileged.

The main health indicators for Mexico may be summarized as follows:

Total population (2005) : 107,029,000

Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2005): 10,030

Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2005): 72/77

Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 63/68

Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births, 2005): 27

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2005): 162/94

Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2004): 655

Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2004): 6.5

( Source: World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Statistics 2007 )

Mexican health care system however suffers from some of the typical problems and challenges afflicting similar systems in other developing countries. For instance, there is governmental funding and subsidized health care facilities for the poor. Moreover, there are hospitals run by government agencies. But the problem lies in the fact that many of these establishments are not properly managed and lack adequate facilities. Also, like in most other developing countries, there is a common belief, though not always correct, that government-run health care system is inferior to that in the private sector. The rich and the more economically well-off sections of the population therefore increasingly resort to private clinics and private practitioners with many affluent Mexicans often traveling abroad for medical treatment especially the United States.

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