As in denmark

“On the first of December of this year the public health system will be operating with a quality service, medical attention, free medicines … as in Denmark”, Were the words of the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador in January of last year. But the date arrived and we have not seen those promised scenes.

The medicines they are still needed, the doctors demand better wages and working conditions, the beds are insufficient, the infrastructure remains a duty.

I recently spoke with Fernanda, who lost her father in the Covid 19 pandemic due to a mix of factors such as her vulnerable situation due to diabetes and late care due to lack of beds in a public hospital.

The nightmare began in February 2021, with the first symptoms: his 62-year-old father had a fever, cough and respiratory distress. Then came the low oxygenation. Fernanda’s brother went ahead and toured various hospitals in the State of Mexico, starting with the area of Ecatepec, but they were saturated. Admitting him to a private clinic sounded risky because they didn’t have enough savings, but as the days went by they had no other choice. The difficult decision was useless: he had gotten so bad that he died within hours of being admitted.

For Fernanda and her family, the promise made from the morning microphone about having an exemplary health system was not a reality. And this week the international magazine specialized in health The Lancet publishes a devastating report that puts numbers on something we already knew: if you don’t have money and you Covid 19, your chances of surviving are much lower than if you have it.

At the beginning of the pandemicThe very idea that this was real — no matter how logical it sounded — gave me chills. How to inquire about it? I reviewed the statistics of intubated people who survived against those who died, both in public and private hospitals.

After requests for information and reviews of kilometric databases, it was a devastating fact: 69% in the public sector died against 37% in the private sector.

I have spoken with doctors who have been on the front line for more than 20 contingency months. From the beginning and until now they have pointed out the same thing: they cannot cope, they are tired, there are no supplies, there are no decent beds, and in the highest peaks of the emergency, they could not pay enough attention to each patient. And they were dying, for any of the above reasons.

The Lancet conducted a more in-depth investigation with a methodology that included a review of socioeconomic strata of patients and other statistics from hospital records. And although the data is from 2020, they give a clear picture of the challenges: Mexicans who were in the lowest 10% income were 5 times more likely to die. Specialists also attribute this number to the fact that in less favored sectors there is no culture of review and prevention, which generates a greater susceptibility in the patient who was infected with Covid 19, because he has diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.

The challenge is reduced to putting the batteries in the prevention and timely detection of risks, of that and any other disease. But so far – unless the authorities are justified by the pandemic – there seems to be no intention of doing so, since there are no ambitious campaigns or strategies in this regard, something that developed countries do emphasize.

And, on the contrary, so far in 2021 the budget for Disease Prevention and Control has been cut and recording sub-exercises: from 541 million initial pesos it suffered a cut of more than 130 million to remain at 409, and until September only 285 had been exercised.

In real terms, health spending until September 2021 is 37% lower than in 2017; In this administration only in 2020 – due to the extraordinary spending caused by the pandemic – the budget for health was 3% higher than in 2017, but in 2019 it was 19% lower than two years earlier.

But the discourse of “we are doing well” is still trying to be sustained every morning. Hopefully the resource to address prevention is really destined, planned and executed correctly and history changes.

Meanwhile, the country has one of the highest excess mortality rates between 2020 and June 2021 among the countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) with 54% … And Denmark, for example, is among those with the lowest mortality rate. Obviously we are still far away.


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