Health Professionals Victims of DiscriminationBy Alessa Flores | Fri, 04/03/2020 - 12:17
According to the National Council for Preventing Discrimination (CONAPRED), health workers have been target to discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization reported that from March 19 to April 2, there were 14 complaints from health workers who have been victims of discrimination. Some cases came from health workers who have been forced to operate under unfavorable conditions due to lack of supplies and others have been discriminated by people who, in fear of being infected, have denied them access to public transport, mobility and other services. In the worst scenarios, harassment has reached a point where doctors and nurses have to change into their medical uniforms once they arrive to hospitals and, before leaving, have to change back into casual clothing.
CONAPRED has called on people not to stigmatize or to take discriminatory and hostile actions against medical personnel who are attending cases of COVID-19, considering their job is essential to identifying, attending and caring for the population at this time of pandemic. In addition, according to INEGI, there are 365,980 people working as doctors in Mexico who work an average of 40 hours a week, of whom almost 72 percent work belong to the public sector and the rest work in private medical services.
In times of health crisis, health professionals are crucial to addressing issues that threaten people's health. While there is no consensus on the optimal amount of health workers per inhabitant, the OECD considers that the greater the number of doctors, nurses or health professionals, the better the coverage of human resources for medical attention.
In the COVID-19 crisis, states with increased purchasing power, travel opportunities and population concentration have been more affected, as is the case of Mexico City, Nuevo Leon and Jalisco. Although the situation is bad, there is still some optimism concerning these major cities, as doctors are especially concentrated in entities with the largest populations, like Mexico City, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon and Veracruz, which together account for 44 percent of doctors employed in the country, according to INEGI.
On the contrary, those cases of COVID-19 that escape the geographical proximity of these large cities with more infrastructure and medical resources may be more vulnerable to the pandemic. It should be mentioned that the Ministry of Health launched an initiative to promote the relocation of health professionals around the country and proposed that all professionals who transfer to rural areas or smaller cities would earn higher salaries.