COPARMEX proposed a plan to expand health access for Mexicans during the inauguration of the 2021 National Health Forum: The Key to Reactivate a Healthy Mexico, held by the Mexican Employer’s Confederation (COPARMEX) during November 23 and 24.
José Medina Mora, President, COPARMEX, highlighted that the effects of health issues in the country caused it to be ranked the second worst out of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) 38 members countries in the 2021 OCDE Health at Glance Report. One of the most glaring issues the country faces is the lack of hospital beds available per capita, as only 1.5 hospital beds are available per 1,000 residents. OCDE member countries have much higher rates of hospital bed availability, such as 2.77 in the US. The COVID-19 pandemic proved the importance of hospital bed availability for the population as space began to ran out to care for COVID-19 patients as early as May 2020.
Because of this, Medina Mora proposed a scheme for the cooperation of the private and public sector that would guarantee universal health access in Mexico. During the pandemic, 15.6 million people, or 28.6 percent of the population, did not have access to medical services. Mexicans spend an average of 45 percent of their income in healthcare. The median salary in the country in 2021 was MX$33,200 (US$1,660) a month, although there is a wide disparity between the earnings of the country’s rich and poor.
As it was emphasized during the event’s inauguration, 70 percent of deaths in Mexico are caused by diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This health issue is largely affected by the obesity epidemic the country has been facing for years. Mexico is the leading country in the world for childhood obesity and the second leading country for overall obesity.
“The care for these problems makes up MX$80 billion (US$3.74 billion), which is added to other structural problems we are having in the health sector that imply complex challenges for Mexican society,” said Medina Mora.
Medina Mora also took a moment to address the continued health crisis hitting the country, particularly as ask the Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer Varela announced the early stages of a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, which followed several mass gatherings after restrictions relaxed due to continuously low rates in the past months. Medina Mora asked the Mexican public to continue following health protocols and taking COVID-19 precautions and even asked the federal government to speed up the vaccination process in the country.
Other financial health issues highlighted by Medina Mora during the inauguration included cancer treatments, which often bring expenses many patients cannot pay for, and 20 percent underprovision of prescriptions in the public health sector.