Corruption is behind the collapse of Mexico’s healthcare system

In the last decade, several irregularities have tainted Mexico’s healthcare system

Corruption is behind the collapse of Mexico’s healthcare system
The improvement of the healthcare system has been halted by corruption and the inability of those who lead the government - Photo: Diego Simón Sánchez/EL UNIVERSAL
English 20/04/2020 09:27 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:40
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The arrival of COVID-19 in Mexico has evidenced the shortages and needs of the healthcare system. Every year, the government allocates thousands of millions to the health sector, although it has been insufficient.

EL UNIVERSAL has reviewed the way in which the budget is spent and found a series of malpractices including paying the salary of doctors that do not exist, the purchase of medicines at a higher price, and the allocation of public funds for Christmas bonuses and union commissions that were not included in the budget. 

All these irregularities can be found in several reports issued by the Federal Superior Auditor (ASF) in the last 10 years, from 2009 to 2018. In a decade, the audit office found irregularities in the use of MXN $42,000 million but only 6% of the public resources were recovered.

Year after year, the audit office finds these types of irregularities but the consequences for these crimes are minimal or are lost amid other events and we never learn the resolution. However, it is especially during emergencies when the irregularities take place and authorities from all levels carry out malpractices.

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With these types of actions, the country loses the opportunity to launch projects that will allow the health system to overcome the deficiencies that have lasted for decades. For years, the improvement of the healthcare system has been halted by corruption and the inability of those who lead the government. 

Now that Mexico is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the problems inside the health and security sectors have become more evident. 

Moreover, the current federal government is right when it argues that it now controls public resources because of all the previous irregularities in the states. Nevertheless, with this decision, any irregularity won’t be punished and it hasn’t been explained how will the federal government prevent malpractices.

Although every sector is essential, the pandemic has confirmed, once again, that the health system is essential. This public health crisis has to set a precedent so that the system improves because it would be unforgivable that things stayed the same after the health emergency.

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