The urban population, and migrants passing through Mexico en route to the United States, are at risk of kidnapping, extortion, physical and mental abuse, and death.
In 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide migrants with basic and mental healthcare, hospital referrals and follow-up of emergency cases. Many people have experienced violence at some point on their journey, but there are few resources available for victims of sexual violence, and no mental health services. Teams carried out more than 10,000 medical consultations and 1,000 mental health consultations in Ixtepec, Apaxco, Lechería, Huehuetoca, Bojay and Tierra Blanca.
MSF also started offering mental health support to people subjected to extreme violence in Colonia Jardín, Acapulco; the city with the highest homicide rate in Mexico.
Improving emergency care in Tamaulipas state
People living in Tamaulipas state have been exposed to extreme, drug-related violence for more than a decade. The general hospital in Nuevo Laredo – the only place in the city where free, good-quality medical care is available to the vulnerable population – is overwhelmed by the number of patients. MSF worked with health authorities to improve emergency care by implementing 24-hour triage, expanding the emergency room, training staff, donating equipment and drugs, and standardising treatments. There were significant improvements in patient care and in October MSF replicated the project in Reynosa, Río Bravo and Valle Hermoso. Mental health and sexual violence care were introduced in Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa in late 2014.
Integrating Chagas treatment
This year MSF collaborated with health authorities to implement a comprehensive response to Chagas disease – a parasitic disease that is prevalent but neglected in Mexico – in the healthcare facility in San Pedro de Pochutla municipality, Oaxaca state. Education, preventive measures (including 3,145 rapid diagnostic tests), and treatment were all available, with MSF providing technical support and training. Five health centres in the area have been trained to provide treatment for Chagas disease, which can be asymptomatic for years but may cause debilitating complications and death if left untreated.
The missing in Guerrero state
Since October, MSF has been offering psychosocial and therapeutic support to nearly 400 relatives and classmates of the 43 students who went missing in Iguala on 26 September.
No. staff in 2014: 84 | Expenditure: €2.9 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1985 | msf.org/mexico