Mexico: Community Dermatology, 1990-95

Skin diseases are a major cause of ill-health in the developing world. Most are transmissible, making their control all the more important. The economic and psychological implications of skin disease are often ignored, with few attempts to understand the community perspective of these ‘unimportant’ conditions. A study of skin diseases in Guerrero suggests that ten conditions account for over 60% of the total number of cases. These include scabies, childhood pyoderma, fungal infections, and conditions causing pigmentary abnormalities. Using sentinel site methodology, the prevalence of skin diseases can be measured, and appropriate control strategies can be implemented.

This led to three projects:

  1. Prevalence and risk factors: In April 1991 a study measured and compare the incidence of piogenic infections in rural and urban areas of Guerrero and to examine the risk factors and the costs, both in terms of treatment and days of work or study lost through illness.
    2. Leprosy: In collaboration with the Instituto National Indigenista, CIET initiated a leprosy control programme in the three Mexican states with the highest incidence of the disease (Guerrero, Puebla and Veracruz).
    3. Medical education: A third project measures the impact that basic dermatology teaching has on health practice among personnel in Primary Health Care. A second stage is to train health personnel in the diagnosis and treatment of the most frequent skin infections and to measure the impact of the training on patients in rural communities.


For further information, see:

Estrada‑Castañón R, Hay R and Andersson N.  Mexico: Community dermatology in Guerrero. Lancet 1991; 337: 906‑7.

Epidemiología cutinea en dos sectores de atención médica en Guerrero, México. Dermatología Revista Mexicana 1992;36/1:29-34.