March 11, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 3/8/2013
He was like many people in their early 20s, at least the type with spiky black hair and two lip rings. Four years ago, while living in this teeming border city, Gonzalo Garcia says he spent free time in the U.S., to shop, meet girls, and “hang out.” He had no idea he was developing a potentially deadly form of tuberculosis. Exactly how long he had it will never be known. He says he started losing weight and becoming tired and tried to get help. But it took a year before a doctor finally figured out what was wrong: He had a drug-resistant strain of TB. “Many doctors said I was just fine,” said Mr. Garcia, sitting in the clinic where he was cured.
To this day, it isn’t clear if he infected anyone on either side of the border while he was contagious. But his tale illustrates a nagging concern among health officials who say the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico could become a breeding ground for one of the hardest forms of TB to treat. Already, both California and Texas, as well as some states on the Mexico side of the border, have unusually high rates of drug-resistant TB.
February 22, 2013
Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe
La Jornada, 2/22/2013
Maria Martinez’s sunken eyes and wrinkled skin make her seem more than 50 years old. In Mixtec, she explains that she does not remember when she was born; meanwhile, the nurse revises her records clarifies the doubt: Maria is 35 years and the baby she carries in her arms is her seventh child.
Like her, many families live with 10 or 15 pesos a day (one quarter of the minimum wage)with which they can only afford pasta, beans and, if revenues improve, chicken or beef every 15 or 30 days. “A chicken costs 80 or 90 pesos, and I can’t afford it,” says Maria.
Even though 300 families receive some aid, malnutrition, remoteness, lack of education, and unemployment keep them in the geography of poverty.
February 19, 2013
Diabetes is the number one killer in Mexico, the chronic health condition a direct result of the obesity issue the country also struggles with. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the total nation’s population are classified as overweight or obese, reports Mexican news syndicate Aljazeera, with most of the issue stemming from lifestyle and eating habits.
The obesity epidemic in Mexico has been ongoing for almost a decade; in 2007, the nation’s health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, estimated the incidence of diabetes would rise by approximately 40 percent by 2012, killing as many as 100,000 Mexicans annually. His numbers were not far off, with diabetes claiming the lives of approximately 70,000 Mexicans a year, according to a 2012 report from McClatchy.
February 14, 2013
The Washington Post, 2/13/2013
The research center largely responsible for launching the “green revolution” of the 1960s that dramatically raised crop yields is getting support from the world’s richest men to develop genetically-modified seeds to help farmers in the developing world grow more grain in the face of a changing climatic conditions and increased demand.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim donated a total of $25 million to build a new cluster of biotechnology labs at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico. The facilities include hothouses “with high-efficiency air particle filters and a water treatment plant to prevent pollen and genetically modified material from escaping to the outdoors,” according to a statement by the billionaires’ foundations.
February 11, 2013
En México se destruyen alrededor de 4.2 millones de toneladas de comida al año que podrían servir para alimentar a unos 33 millones de personas.
Paradójicamente, la Cruzada Nacional contra el Hambre, puesta en marcha el mes pasado por el Gobierno federal, tiene como meta sacar del nivel de pobreza alimentaria extrema a 7.4 millones de mexicanos en 400 municipios
February 4, 2013
Despite the fact that the Mexican government invested heavily to build highly specialized hospitals and provide them with technology, the battle against cancer has been hampered by the lack of trained personnel, missing equipment, and unfinished treatment centers– among other problems. This causes people to leave their hometowns in order to receive treatment at the National Cancer Institute (Incan) when they could access care near their homes.
February 1, 2013
The Scientist, 2/1/2013
Six months after it was forced to stop treating patients in the United States, a controversial company offering unproven stem-cell treatments has told its customers they will now be sent to Mexico for the procedures, reported Nature.
Houston, Texas-based Celltex Therapeutics offers treatments in which stem cells are extracted from patients, cultured in the lab, and then re-injected to restore damaged tissue. It had been carrying out the procedures on US soil for a year when last September the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised the company that because the cells are more than “minimally manipulated,” federal approval is required to inject them into patients.
January 28, 2013
The Dallas Morning News, 1/28/2013
“Mexico needs to get more hospitals certified by the Joint Commission, address violence and the perception of it, and needs to significantly increase advertising in the United States,” said Christopher E. Wilson, an expert on economic issues at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute.
“In the U.S., states need to see if changes are needed in insurance regulation to allow policies to cover care in Mexico,” Wilson said. “In California, for instance, some insurance companies are selling policies to cover care in Mexico. Finally, getting Medicare to cover treatment out of the U.S. is the holy grail for medical tourism advocates.”
January 28, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor, 1/25/2013
Exponential growth in the trafficking of drugs through Mexico – destined for the large consumer market to the north – is leaving a growing number of addicts in its wake.
Heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamines were once unheard of in Mexico, but today rehabilitation centers are filled with addicts. Being the top supplier of illegal drugs to the US has made Mexico a consumer nation, too, as cartels have sought to expand the local market over the past decade.
January 22, 2013
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto unveils his plans to eradicate extreme poverty on Monday, a blight affecting more than 10 percent of the population in Latin America’s second biggest economy.
Hoping to emulate the recent success of Brazil in lifting millions out of poverty, the 46-year-old Pena Nieto will kick off a “national crusade against hunger” in southern Mexico in Chiapas, one of the states hardest hit.