Mexico: Supporting Access To Healthcare For Refugees & Migrants

Central America is currently experiencing a refugee and migrant crisis

In late 2018, approximately 10,000 people from Honduras and El Salvador fled their countries

The vast majority were escaping endemic violence and extreme poverty, or being forced from their homes by climate-change related disasters such as floods and droughts. Many were hoping seek asylum in the United States in the hope of building a better future for themselves and their families.

After surviving the dangerous journey, many were detained by migrant authorities in Mexico and were forcibly or voluntarily returned to their home countries. However, according to the Mexican government, 7,000 people still remain in makeshift shelters in the north of Mexico in cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali.

Earlier this month, a further 2,000 Honduran and Salvadoran nationals left their countries to make the same journey north.

Migrant Marely Villatoro, 20, from Honduras, plays with her 4 months-old child as she waits for a lift during their journey towards the United States, in Tierra Blanca, Mexico

Due to the arduous conditions of the journey, many are in need of immediate access to healthcare, hygiene kits, safe drinking water, and nutritional foodstuffs. The Mexican public health system is struggling to respond to the crisis due to a severe lack of resources and capacity.

Doctors of the World is currently on the ground in Mexico working alongside the Mexican health authorities to facilitate access to healthcare for refugees and migrants in the town of Tapachula, a key town on Mexico’s southern border for those travelling north or waiting to hear news about their asylum status in Mexico. Our teams are working to provide those in need with access to primary healthcare, and to assess additional needs through a mobile medical team.

Migrant Yoselin Dias, 9, from Honduras, is held by her mother as they wait for transportation during their journey towards the United States, in Matehuala, Mexico

DOTW has been active in Mexico since 1998

Our teams are uniquely positioned to address the current crisis due to our significant experience working with vulnerable populations in Mexico. Since 1998, our work has focused on advocating for indigenous communities and providing access to sexual and reproductive healthcare to migrants from Central America residing in Mexico. 

In the Southern border towns of Tapachula and Huixtla, our network of community health promoters distribute free contraceptives, administer free STI testing and provide access to reproductive health information.

Learn more about our ongoing work in Mexico.