Image credits: Luis Melendez
News Article

Up to 40 Years Needed to Change the Framework of Mexican Health

By Alfonso Núñez | Tue, 10/19/2021 - 15:53

Juan Antonio Ferrer, Director of INSABI, was met with ample criticism during an appearance before Senate last Friday, October 15, due to the growth in the number of Mexican citizens without access to medical attention during the last couple of years.


“From 2018 to 2020 alone we went from having 20.1 million to 35.7 million people left without access to medical attention, something absolutely unforgivable,” said PAN senator Xochilt Galvez. Senators from PAN and PRI blame this increase on the restructuring of the country’s health system by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador´s administration, which replaced Seguro Popular with INSABI, a centralized health system that lessens private participation.


Ferrer answered the accusations explaining that the transition plan will show results in the long term. Thirty to 40 years are the norm for these transitions, he explained, using Brazil and Colombia’s restructuring of their respective health system frameworks as examples. “The strategies of modification for health models in the world aren’t achieved within a couple of days,” said Ferrer. While this transitionary period may be timely, he hopes to see Mexico’s health system resemble that of Denmark by the end of the estimated 3 to 4 decades.


When asked for proof of INSABI’s progress, Ferrer pointed to the delivery of 63 percent of the oncological medicines. He argued that since a 100 percent delivery is not possible, the achieved distribution proves that INSABI is delivering results. However, Ferrer stated that longstanding corruption could stand in the way of further progression.


“The medication is delivered through a program that the federal entities and institutions establish because they are later stolen, I am sorry to say, they are stolen. They are commercialized in the pharmacies… they are stolen when they arrive to the states, they are stolen when they arrive at warehouses, they are stolen when they arrive at the hospitals, that is why the institutions are looking for control,” Ferrer explained.


To address this problem, the Ministry is developing a digital tracing system for oncological medicines to prevent theft and limit corruption across the medicine field, said Ferrer. The digital monitoring of medicine deliveries could be a great step in the provision of better health assistance in Mexico. But, similarly to the transition from Seguro Popular to INSABI, only time will determine if it is successful.

Photo by:   Luis Melendez, Unsplash
Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst