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Drug violence leaves Chihuahua’s mountain regions without doctors

Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua — Drug violence has been the reason doctors have fled several northern regions of Mexico resulting in the closure of medical clinics.

Despite high paying salaries, doctors are refusing to work in medical clinics in health centers in the mountain regions of Chihuahua. Local authorities say despite the salaries being offered, terror due to the drug violence has driven medical doctors from the region.

In the town center of the municipalities of Gómez Farías, Cuauhtémoc and Témoris, medical clinics “remain closed due to the lack of medical personnel to attend them,” says a report from the Ministry of Health.

“The insecurity that exists in some regions of the state, particularly in the mountain areas, is the main reason why doctors refuse to fill these vacancies” despite the fact that they were offered salaries of up to 40,000 peso a month, according to the institution.

Ernesto Ávila, Secretary of Health of Chihuahua said that “there is a deficit of 60 doctors in the Sierra area.”

Chihuahua, which borders with the United States, is the site of disputes between drug traffickers over the control of drug trafficking routes.

According to authorities, the violence has been exacerbated by the armed confrontations between La Línea and Gente Nueva, armed groups of the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, respectively.

In the municipality of Gómez Farías, Blas Godínez, a director of the Regional Hospital was kidnapped in November 2017 and his whereabouts is still unknown. At the end of July, four nursing students who were boarding in a hospital in the municipality of Parral went missing.

As a result, medical and nursing staff fled from the health centers that still remain closed. People living in these communities who require medical attention must travel to other locations.

In Témoris, the population is served by medical caravans.