News Article

Access to Health as a National Priority: IMSS

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 09/08/2021 - 18:12

Despite the challenges of providing free and equal access to healthcare, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) is committed to delivering universal access. This goal is a national priority, said Manuel Cervantes Ocampo, Coordinator of First Level Medical Units at IMSS.

Access to health is defined as "the degree to which individuals and groups of individuals have the ability to obtain the care they require from health care services,” according to the US National Academy of Medicine. With this in mind, Cervantes Ocampo said, governments are committed to adopting international health policies to provide access.

As a national priority, access to health implies providing access to comprehensive health services to all people and communities without distinction regardless of their financial capabilities, especially marginalized groups, said Cervantes Ocampo. To achieve this, the sector requires appropriate and competent health and care personnel, proximity services in communities “where people study, work or live,” equitable distribution of resources and financial support. 

The third goal of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which features 17 goals, states that access to health is “about ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages.” 

With these international aspects in mind, the National Development Plan (PND) 2019-2024 of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's administration includes 'Health for the Whole Population,' a plan that highlights that “there are millions of people without access to any institution or modality of the health system or live in conditions without access to coverage." The former Seguro Popular, which has been turned into INSABI, failed to include conditions such as kidney failure or some types of cancer in its coverage, explained Cervantes Ocampo. 

The main objective of the current PND is to provide access to effective, universal and free healthcare services. "The best example we have is the COVID-19 vaccine," he notes. “We have guaranteed that people who are not affiliated to social security institutions have access to medical and hospital care, including medicines, healing materials and medical examinations.”

During the current administration, IMSS has set as a priority to contribute to universal and free access to health services and medicines for the entire population, said Cervantes Ocampo. Likewise, the institute seeks to guarantee the quality and coverage of institutional services and benefits, “giving priority to disease prevention and health promotion.” 

Some of these services are being provided now as part of the IMSS Bienestar program, which is free for all Mexicans, especially for marginalized populations. “The responsibility to provide health services lies not only with a few, but with everyone,” said Cervantes Ocampo. 

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst