You can see the bright pink and lime green offices of DIF http://www.difver.gob.mx in most pueblos of any size at all. The acronm stands for Sistema Nacional para e Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, or the Comprehensive Development of the Family. It offers all kinds of services from food, more in hard times, to mammograms to activities for us old people to issuing cards for seniors to get discounts, to sports, to psychological counseling and health education, some devoted to specific problems like leukemia and assistance for people without state insurance who need heart surgery. It offers programs for kids and teenagers. It’s kind of like a community center in the US, except this is a government organization. It’s very visible. It doesn’t seem to suffer for its government connection, and it is tied closely to local communities. This is the place in Coatepec where citizens are supposed to bring their cooking oil.
DIF is also a dispenser of sage advice on A/H1N1 prevention measures. Here’s a poster they share from the Ministry of Health on hand washing:
We haven't heard of anyone in our area yet who has had swine flu. In the country at large, 2431 new cases have been reported in the last 48 hours. Thus far, altogether 41,920 people have been infected and 260 have died from it. Mexico has a population of roughly 106 million people.
In looking at the epidemiology of those who've died in Mexico, it's reported in (I thik the October 1 issue of El Processo that 22.5% of the 193 people who'd died as of October 1 in Guadalajara, 22.5% were cigarette addicts. It's a bit hard to find a quantitative definition of addiction, but the Mayo Clinic says that you can tell if you are dependent if quitting causes withdrawal symptoms. In Mexico, somewhere between 12% and 15% of the population are considered addicts, less than the mortality rate from the A/H1N1 flu, at least in Guadalajara, indicating perhaps a link between lungs compromised by smoking in particular and the severe pulmonary complications of the flu. The article pointed out that most people who died had serious secondary problems from heart disease to other pulmonary disorders.