Medicine shortages affect the poorest and most vulnerable communities

The aim is for the Mexican health system to achieve the level of countries like Denmark, Sweden, or Canada

Medicine shortages affect the poorest and most vulnerable communities
Oaxaca, one of the poorest states, has been affected by the medicine shortage - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 08/05/2019 09:23 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:39
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It is not uncommon to hear that there are no medicines for the beneficiaries of the health sector. There are shortages often until social pressure forces authorities to react and solve the issue. What is strange is that there is a shortage almost six months after the new administration took office and almost five months after the government announced the federalization of the health system to provide “quality” medical service and “free” medicines.

On December 14, 2018, President López Obrador announced the creation of the National Health System for the Well-being of Mexicans. The first states where the plan was implemented were Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. It was also announced that every six months, at least eight states would join the program so that in two years, the plan is implemented throughout the country.

According to the program, the aim is for the Mexican health system to achieve the level of countries like Denmark, Sweden, or Canada but with the lethargy shown by the health sector, several years will pass before there are developments.

For example, in Oaxaca, public hospitals in the state are facing alarming medicine shortages, as well as the lack of materials required by doctors and nurses. Authorities and the union confirmed the lack of material but they have different numbers. Authorities say there is a shortage in the 34 hospitals from the state level at 50%; the union estimates that the shortage is between 70% and 80%. If the situation persists, it could spark an emergency in 20 days.

Until now, the federal government hasn't fulfilled its commitment to acquire medicines and materials. In the face of a similar situation, HIV patients in Mexico City protested because they haven't received the antiretroviral treatment that used to be provided by the health sector.

The National Development Plan, issued last week, establishes that it will be guaranteed that “by 2024, all the inhabitants of Mexico will receive free medical and hospital attention, including medicines, materials, and lab tests.” This date is not near and people who suffer from an illness can't wait; in some cases, their lives depend on medicines and medical treatments.

The decision adopted in December meant that the federal administration would be in charge of the health system in Oaxaca and other seven states but something failed and no matter what the reason behind the failure is, restraint of the social expenditure, bureaucracy, the lack of coordination, it has to be solved immediately. The poorest and vulnerable communities who are facing the worst shortages.


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