Since 2004, Mexico has put into law an article in the constitution that recognizes health care as a basic right for all of its citizens. The impact of this law is manifested in the work of the Programa Seguro Popular, or Popular Health Insurance. Under this program, there has been much improvement in access to reproductive health, although there are still barriers that hinder true access to reproductive health.
This past summer, I worked in small clinics on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, where I helped doctors and nurses with prenatal visits, pediatric malnutrition visits, and reproductive health appointments. I also helped with the recruitment of women between the ages of 35 and 64 for an optional test to prevent cervical cancer. It involved a cervical swab test to detect the DNA of the human papilloma virus.
The rugged, rural conditions on the coast, the poverty, and the machismo evident in these small villages were some of the cultural and socio-economic forces that hindered the program’s ability to provide access to reproductive care. This investigation is based on my clinical experiences and on personal interviews I had with physicians, midwives, and patients. I will provide testimony about how these barriers directly affect access to basic reproductive care. Specifically, I will describe the socio-economic and cultural effects of this program on family planning, maternal health, and gynecological health.
Julia Tanguay, ’11
Majors: Spanish, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar