Mexican healthcare workers face discrimination and labor abuse

02/06/2020
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09:11
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Mexican healthcare workers face discrimination and labor abuse
Healthcare workers have faced adversities such as the lack of PPE, equipment, and discrimination - Photo: Joebeth Terriquez/AP

Mexican healthcare workers face discrimination and labor abuse

02/06/2020
09:11
Mexico City
Editorial
-A +A
Health workers are forced to work even when they suffer from asthma or autoimmune diseases

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Healthcare workers have been praised and recognized all over the world, especially since they are in the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. Doctors, nurses, and stretcher-bearers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus; however, they have committed to helping patients overcome the illness. As the rest of the population, there are a series of diseases that put them at even more risk, should they keep working or should they step away? 
 
Today, El UNIVERSAL presents the testimony of healthcare workers who are being forced to work at the IMSS and ISSSTE throughout the country, even when they are part of the vulnerable sectors.
 
Carmen, a nurse from Baja California, suffers from an autoimmune disease and has been deployed to a COVID-19 area. The situation described by the nurse borders on the illegal and labor abuse: “Over 50 colleagues have contracted the virus, they don’t get tested, they just tell them to stay home, some others are denied sick leave.”
 
In Mexico City, a doctor working at an IMSS hospital suffers from bronchial asthma and if she contracted COVID-19, the doctor would be at risk of dying. After the requested to take some time off because of her health condition, authorities refused and asked her to continue working.
 
Recommended: Mexican healthcare workers are dying from COVID-19
 
Between March 19 and April 30, the National Council to Prevent and Eradicate Discrimination received 231 complaints about discrimination linked to COVID-19; 58 of them were reported by doctors, nurses, and students. 
 
In Mexico, the OECD has reported a shortage of doctors, nurses, and hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants. There are 2.4 doctors for every 1,000 inhabitants; while in other countries there are 3.4 doctors for every 1,000 inhabitants. The lack of doctors became more evident with the pandemic and dates back to decades ago.
 
The country has asked retired doctors to return to work to face the crisis sparked by the novel coronavirus; however, it shouldn’t expose the vulnerable sector. Those retired doctors who returned to work are committed to helping patients, even when the situation is not the best for their health.
 
Therefore, healthcare workers must be praised and recognized. Today, the newspaper will pay homage to healthcare workers, and this won’t be the first or the last time.
 
Recommended: 8,000 healthcare workers will receive Mexico's highest decoration
 
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