Mexico’s public health budget is about 3 percent of gross domestic product — within the range of spending by other major Latin American economies, but well below the rate in developed countries, according to the World Bank; and Mexico has only about half as many hospital beds per capita than the United States.
To help Mexico meet the extra costs of the flu epidemic, the World Bank issued a loan of $205 million.
“The two key things that they need to work on now,” said Keith Hansen, a World Bank health official for Latin America and the Caribbean, “is surveillance, to pick up patterns of infection, and to make sure that everybody who needs care has access to it.”
In an acknowledgment that Mexicans frequently act as their own doctors, the government’s announcements, played repeatedly on the radio, advise people not to self-medicate and instead to seek out medical attention.
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