Has austerity gone too far?

NGOs are asking the Mexican government not to forsake children from low-income families

Has austerity gone too far?
The austerity measures aim to collect resources to allocate them to the critical situation sparked by COVID-19 but this could harm children’s health - Photo: File photo
English 05/07/2020 09:12 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:21

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The unrestricted implementation of a series of budget cuts, which were announced by the Mexican government on April 23, could affect the continuity of public programs that provide services to children under six years old, and in some cases, said programs could no longer operate, worsening the health and economic crisis. 

Although the austerity measures aim to collect resources to allocate them to the critical situation sparked by COVID-19, at the same it, this could harm children’s health, such as massive measles outbreaks. Outbreaks among children could be the result of debilitating basic vaccination, hygiene, nutrition, and prevention programs for children, as well as education, daycare, and children’s rights programs. 

Group Pacto por la Primera Infancia alerted about the consequences these budget cuts could have. The group is formed by 173 NGOs, including Unicef and Save the Children, that have asked the government to reevaluate its decision to forsaken over 6,500,000 Mexican children.

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The risks faced by children show why budget cuts shouldn’t be implemented without deep analysis. Reducing budgets up to 75% will have an impact on people’s basic needs, which is even worse when it comes to children from low-income families. For example, the budget cuts would cancel the transport expenses for vaccination campaigns even when healthcare workers have to travel to rural areas to fulfill their job; therefore, healthcare workers would have to pay for these expenses themselves, which is impossible if you consider their low wages.

The issue is not an austere government, but rather that the administration doesn’t analyze which expenses are unnecessary and which ones are essential. Moreover, the government should analyze if instead of implementing budget cuts in certain programs, should they increase its resources. Is someone sensible enough to go over these cases?