Imagine riding on a bus through rural Mexico, bouncing around for more than six hours with a urinary tract infection. I did it, and by the time we got to Campeche from Chetumal, I was hurting.
Lucky for me, my husband spotted one of the many health clinics staffed by doctors in every major Mexican city right across the street from the bus station.
These are walk-in clinics, staffed by doctors who often know English because they studied in the U.S. In my case, a woman doctor was in the office and she said my visit gave her the opportunity to practice her English, while I had another chance to practice mi espanol.
I described the symptoms, she prescribed a cure, I got meds, and the whole thing cost me less than $6 USD and about 20 minutes of my time.
The doctor gave me her undivided attention without feeling rushed. I paid $50 pesos (less than $3 at the current exchange rate) for her consultation. The cost was normally $40 pesos, but the price is higher for evenings and Sundays.
Following the visit, I had the prescription filled at a nearby farmacia, which cost another $48 pesos (less than $3 USD).
It’s been nearly 30 hours since I started the meds. At this point, there’s no reason for me to think I won’t fully recover from this infection.
I don’t get UTIs often, but I have had them before a couple of times throughout my life, like millions of other women. In the U.S., I’m certain the comparative cost of having this temporary affliction would have been ridiculous.
My previous experiences with the Mexican health care system here were equally efficient (parasites and likely Chikungunya). I’ve recovered from both ailments (though I do still have a stiff neck and occasional knee pain from Chik-V).
This efficient and economical health care is why American expats, retirees and patient-tourists visit Mexico every year, and it’s why Mexicans plan to build a new medical facility in Tijuana that will feature a health hotel targeted at Americans.
Viva la Mexico!