Navigating COVID-19: an update from Mexico

11 August 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic has shifted the way we all work, live, and navigate the world. It has also highlighted and widened global inequalities, particularly the delivery of and access to healthcare services and education. As part of this series, we share updates from IFD Project Partners in Tajikistan, Nepal, Tanzania, and Mexico, among others, to look at how they have navigated these challenges.

Established in 1991, Dermatología Comunitaria México (DCM), led by Dr Roberto Estrada, aims to improve skin health in communities in under-served parts of Mexico. The International Foundation for Dermatology (IFD) is pleased to support Dr Roberto and his team as part of its In-Country Support Programme.

Dr Estrada and his team in action

Since 2017, with the assistance of the IFD, DCM has:

  • Provided online and in-person dermatology training to over 3,000 frontline healthcare workers across Mexico.
  • Treated over 2,500 people, many of whom hailed from indigenous communities with limited access to skin health services, for a wide range of complicated skin conditions.
  • Gathered data on the prevalence of rare skin disorders in under-served communities, shared and published globally.
  • Opened a skin health centre in Tixtla, Guerrero State, Mexico, to improve indigenous communities access to general and skin health services.
  • Raised awareness of and provided access to skin health services through their World Skin Health Day activities and events.

During the first six months of the Pandemic, Dermatología Comunitaria México had to close its Acapulco clinic to join the national mission to control and eradicate COVID-19. Despite these challenging circumstances, Dr Estrada and his team continued to provide online dermatological training and teledermatology sessions.

The new clinic in Tixtla, Guerrero State, Mexico

In October 2020, they reopened their centre in Acapulco but found that the patients that attended the clinic were not those most in need. To address this, Dr Estrada, Dr Chávez, and their team relocated the clinic to Tixtla, Guerrero State, Mexico. They chose this location as it was more accessible for the surrounding indigenous communities to visit and receive dermatological care. 

The Dermatología Comunitaria México programme overcame the challenges presented by the pandemic through their innovative and responsive approach. DCM has been able to not only navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 but grow and become more resilient as a result.