MEXICO CITY – Mexico City’s government plans to open the University of Health, a free university that will train doctors and nurses to work in community-based medicine, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Monday.
“This is a different philosophy. Not just a philosophy oriented toward specialties, but just the opposite, working on the training of people who are capable of fully serving their communities, especially the country’s most isolated communities, which is where more doctors and nurses are needed,” the mayor said during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily press conference at the National Palace.
The University of Health is expected to open in June, Sheinbaum said.
The Mexico City mayor said Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, proposed that the capital’s government open a medical school “to take in students from across the country so that the family doctors, community (doctors), that the country needs can be trained.”
The University of Health will be located in the Chapultepec Forest in a building that previously housed the School of Military Engineering.
The facility is being renovated so that classes can start in the summer, Sheinbaum said.
The Mexico City mayor said a public notice calling for applications from students and posting job openings for faculty members was published on Monday in Mexico City’s Official Gazette, with the application deadline being in February.
Both students and professors will be required to take a preparatory course and those successfully completing the program will receive offers to join the university, which will be run by Mexico City’s government.
“This is a national call for applications, not just for people from Mexico City, but mainly for students who have graduated from across the country and have a vocation to return to their communities as doctors and nurses,” the mayor said.
Sheinbaum said the University of Health will be a unit of Mexico City’s Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat.
Lopez Obrador, for his part, said the University of Health “will be part of the same plan and have the same purpose” as the institutions that belong to the federal government’s Benito Juarez Public Universities system.
“We are opening them, they are already operating, universities from the Benito Juarez system all across the country. Of the 100, there are around 11 that are designated for medicine and nursing. They are in more distant communities and are moving forward very well,” said Lopez Obrador, the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
The president said “we have to open more” of these educational institutions.
The government is working to hire more doctors, AMLO said, adding that physicians who take jobs in Mexico’s poorest communities will get additional compensation.
Sheinbaum said Mexico City’s government was extremely satisfied with the Health and Welfare Institute (INSABI), which recently replaced the People’s Insurance program and helps individuals without medical coverage.
“These are two different concepts. One is about looking at health as if it was merchandise and the other is to think of it as being a right. And that is the foundation that we are working on with the government of Mexico. In the case of Mexico City, the INSABI’s support is going to be very important,” the mayor said.
Mexico City’s government plans to hire 800 doctors in 2020 and “there will be additional support with the INSABI,” Sheinbaum said.
“We are going to guarantee free and better health services,” the Mexico City mayor said.