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Specialized dermatological care for marginalized populations and education at the primary care level: is community dermatology a feasible proposal?


Dr G. Estrada-Chavez, MD
Dermatologia Comunitaria A.C.
Juan Sebastian Elcano 222-312. Fracc. Hornos C.P. 39355 Acapulco, Gro. MEXICO


Skin diseases have a very high frequency either in developed as well as in undeveloped countries. Guerrero, Chiapas, and Oaxaca are the most impoverished states in Mexico, where 24% of the population lacks basic health care, and only 15% are estimated to have access to specialists. Community Dermatology program was founded in 1991 with the intention of improving the dermatological health of remote, marginalized inhabitants of the state of Guerrero. The program consists of a two-day visit to a pre-selected community; the first day includes a basic dermatology training course for local providers, and day 2 is a “Jornada”,”which means a day of free medical consultation and treatment. Pityriasis albus Cloasma, vitiligo, and acne continue to be the most frequent diagnosed primary disorders, as in rural areas occupational obligations include prolonged sun exposure. The experience and success of Community Dermatology over the last 20 years has demonstrated that this model of healthcare delivery and instruction is economically feasible, provides practical and quantifiable benefits for the communities served, and could be emulated by other disciplines within medicine.