The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Mexico's Health SectorBy Karel Fucikovsky de Grunhof Knap | Fri, 07/22/2022 - 11:00
After more than three years of President Lopez Obrador’s administration, big challenges have been towering as priorities for his government. Without doubt, the health sector, and more specifically the public health sector, has suffered immensely compared to the past practices of previous governments and stakeholders. I will not go into details but, certainly, there continues to be a large gap between what is expected and promised versus what the population is receiving. The days when we could wish for and expect a health system as robust, predictable and transparent as that in Denmark are long gone.
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is an example. It not only brought more complexities to the system that was not ready to stand up to the size of the emergency, but it also brought a new level of question marks that demonstrated the dismantling of the status quo was not a good idea from a timing, resource, know-how or financial perspective.
The Good was the forced implementation of an accelerated national vaccination campaign that despite not allowing the private sector to participate, which in my opinion was a mistake as it slowed down the whole process, it did manage to cover most of the population. Whether it was the Pfizer, Astra, Cansino or the J&J vaccine, the roll-out was positive and an immense adult and teenager percentage of the population got immunized. Now, the country is getting ready to administer vaccines to children aged 5 to 11. This with no doubt has been successful in the way we can make a strong stand against the newly arrived fifth wave, with fewer hospitalizations and rates of death.
The Bad is that we never saw, and still do not see whatsoever, the serious and strong mass communication campaigns that targeted all efforts toward the importance of getting vaccinated, and how we as population should still continue to take all the prevention measures within our reach to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. As experts highlight, this variant is far more contagious than its predecessors.
As the days go by, we continuously observe our social behavior as if nothing is happening, as if COVID never existed, or we just pretend it was a bad nightmare that passed. The use of masks and social distancing recommendations have been forgotten, massive events take place, concerts, and even family gatherings are being held with no barriers against the virus.
The Ugly is the real capability of our society and healthcare system to fight back in case another pandemic or other diverse variants of the COVID 19 virus arrive. Have we really learned our lessons from this worldwide health event? Do we have the required resources allocated? Are we investing robustly in R&D? Do our health authorities act as one real authority working toward the population’s health needs and challenges? How can we continue driving our authorities toward understanding that health is and should always be considered a priority as we know that a healthy population is a more productive one?