Corruption kills: MXN $4,179 million were diverted from the health sector between 2014 and 2018

Corruption seems to have reached its peak during the previous administration

Corruption kills: MXN $4,179 million were diverted from the health sector between 2014 and 2018
In the health sector, any irregularities or mismanagement has direct consequences in the lives of patients - Photo: Roberto Armocida/EL UNIVERSAL
English 04/05/2020 09:04 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 14:00

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The most common face of corruption is that of public servants who steal public funds but less common ones include corruption cases that result in the death of people. 

Corruption is a deeply-rooted phenomenon in Mexico. It perhaps reached its peak during the previous administration when the construction of the México-Querétaro train came to a halt in the midst of conflicts of interests and favoritism; when millions in public funds were transferred to shell companies in the cases known as the Master Fraud; and when the government inaugurated a road that would last at least 40 years, but a few months later a sinkhole killed two people. 

Today, EL UNIVERSAL reveals yet another corruption case. Between 2014 and 2018, the IMSS presented a proposal to purchase ventilators, uniforms, and medicines but it was a simulation, which was used to divert MXN $321 million. Now, those supplies are essential to treat patients infected with COVID-19

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In the health sector, any irregularities or mismanagement has direct consequences in the lives of patients treated by health workers.

Since COVID-19 arrived, one of the main complaints was the lack of PPE for those at the frontlines. Moreover, a large number of doctors and nurses have contracted the novel coronavirus. 

Another urgent need is ventilators for seriously ill patients with COVID-19. The risk that the number of ventilators is not enough has even sparked a discussion on bioethics and about who should have access to a ventilator. 

The spread of COVID-19 took the health system by surprise and amid shortages. What proportion is the result of the diversion of public resources? Between 2014 and 2018, the organization Impunidad Cero y Justicia Justa (Zero Impunity and Just Justice) found the diversion of MXN $4,179 million in public funds to shell companies; the frauds are linked to the health sector. 

Amid a public health crisis, it becomes evident that the mismanagement of public funds allocated to public clinics and hospitals has a direct effect on the quality of the services and could result in the death of patients. Will Mexico prevent more of these cases?

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