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H1N1– a worthy victim

6 October 2009

The Guadalajara Reporter’s Tom Marshall on the best public health news from the State of Jalisco in a long time:

In the midst of increasing discontent over the uncertain way the dengue epidemic, H1N1 flu and seasonal flu has been dealt with by the state government, Jalisco Health Secretary Alfonso Gutierrez Carranza resigned Tuesday.

Just last week Gutierrez, who held the post for 30 months, was staunchly defending himself against rounding critics. He said health authorities in Jalisco were well equipped to handle the increase in dengue and H1N1 flu cases.

Gutierrez’ time as Health Secretary was laden with controversy and many top Jalisco politicians have come out in support of his decision to resign.

Gutierrez had problems confronting unionized workers within the Health Department, was accused of sexual harassment and scandals such the death of the young boy Miguel Angel Lopez Rocha. Even as H1N1 hysteria was sweeping Mexico and Jalisco, Gutierrez was noticeably absent with Elizabeth Ulloa, the state’s public health director, taking over most of the press duties.

Gutierrez has been a joke since he was appointed by Governor Emilio González Márquez, although his negligence (and basic incompetence) wasn’t so funny.  The thankfully now ex-Secretary of Health didn’t appear to have an up to date license to practice medicine at the time of his appointment. At the time he was working as González Márquez’ chauffeur.

The only downside so far is that the newly elected Presidente Municipal of Guadalajara, Alfonso Petersen Farah, who was State Secretary of Health prior to 2006, has been tapped to return to his old post, leaving the country’s third largest city’s administration in the lurch.

Petersen, besides being a PAN politician,  obtained his MD at Univeridad de la Salle, and a second degree in internal medicine from UNAM.

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