OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify the coverage rates and use of health care and to explore barriers and facilitators of access in rural Mexico.
STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review of the literature.
METHODS: We undertook a structured search in the electronic databases EMBASE, Medline, and Scopus. Inclusion criteria comprised articles published in Spanish and English during the period 1986-2018. The studies were screened and selected by two independent reviewers in accordance with predefined criteria.
RESULTS: The review included 14 studies. Over the last 30 years, the rates of health-care coverage have increased from 30% to >50% in rural Mexico. Although the rates of health-care coverage increased, aspects such as lack of resources, language, and health-care professionals remained important barriers to health care. Cash transfer programs were identified as a facilitator.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite increased health-care coverage of >50% in the last three decades, action is needed to fulfill the needs of rural Mexican populations. It is important to increase the number of trained health professionals who practice in rural areas. Moreover, health programs should be developed and adapted to meet the needs of rural and indigenous populations.