The health cuts employed by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have already claimed their first fatalities: in Tijuana alone, 13 newborn babies died due to the lack of supplies, along with two babies, and a miscarriage in Chiapas.
The health crisis, the violence the country has suffered, and the economic projects have caused AMLO’s approval ratings to drop by 10%.
Mario Alberto Ornelas, a pediatric oncologist, confessed that his colleagues and he are tired of the current government. “It makes me very sad that patients die as a result of administrative negligence. However, this hospital has a very committed team of doctors, nurses, and staff and thanks to their commitment, the hospital has made progress,” he said.
Indigenous communities are the most affected
Twelve of the most marginalized indigenous communities in Mexico are the most affected by the health crisis. Since they are far from the cities, they depended on airplanes from the Prosperar program to reach a hospital within half an hour. However, AMLO canceled this program.
The health center in the ejido La Candelaria does not have the necessary supplies needed to care for patients from the Tzeltal indigenous population. Since the transition of government and in the face of austerity, they do not even have access to transportation. Community health centers have limited availability of medications and hospital personnel.
Since there is no motor-road in the area, villagers must walk eight hours through the forest to reach the nearest health center. For a five-month-old baby, it was too late. His remains were buried on 28th May.
Meanwhile, in Tijuana, the Mexican state on the American border, thirteen of the youngest citizens have died to the lack of medical supplies and professionals to attend to them.
According to the team at the General Hospital of Tijuana, in the last three months, 13 babies have died from entirely preventable complications: six so far in May, five in April, and two in March.
Violence: Bullets get priority over newborns
Mexico is living through its most violent years under the administration of AMLO. The number of gunshot victims has overwhelmed doctors. Doctors and hospital beds are occupied for the treatment of these victims and unavailable for other patients.
A baby has already died because of this shortage. Victims of gun violence, many of them in criminal acts, occupied the 28 emergency beds in the General Hospital of Tijuana. The baby died as there was no space to take care of him.
The parents of the babies in Tijuana as well as Chiapas did not know the cause of the death. Being in a deplorable condition, the hospital did not have the required supplies in the laboratories to do the studies.
“We do not have the supplies to feed babies who are not eating. They have not sent parenteral nutrition in a month. We have a board that helps us, but soon they will say they cannot because this nutrition is very expensive and the babies eat every day,” explains Julieta Pacheco, head of neonatology at the hospital.
“Parents must buy diapers, syringes, gauzes, gloves, even hand sanitizer if they want to come in to see their children. Sometimes we do not have soap or towels,” she adds.
Mass layoffs and resignations of medical personnel
Additionally, she explains that the patients are not the only ones affected, but that the doctors are at the mercy of the wrath of the patients. Parents become aggressive when they realize that the hospital is facing shortages or that the required medical supplies are missing.
According to Bianca García, the head of education at the General Hospital of Tijuana, two resident doctors have resigned this week because they are overworked and suffer from depression and anxiety.
The government reportedly inaugurated an ill-named “mother-child hospital.”
According to Guadalupe Duarte, head of the OB/GYN department, the hospital exceeds its capacity by 120-130 % and is responsible for caring for 80 % of high-risk pregnancies in the region. Therefore, the hospital is a misnamed as mother-child hospital.
“It is not a hospital, but a short-stay unit for newborns and their mothers. They are permitted to stay for only 48 hours; in other words, women with a high-risk pregnancy cannot be treated there,” she said.
AMLO designated money to promote baseball and scholarships.
The doctors are exhausted and also face uncertainty regarding their jobs. In some states, hospitals have reduced up to 50% of staff members due to the budget cuts.
At the same time, they are aware that AMLO’s “Republican austerity” does not apply to all areas of the economy. The health budget was cut by 44% (350 million Mexican pesos or 18.5 million USD). The same amount was allocated for the promotion of baseball.
Moreover, AMLO allocated 44 million pesos (2.5 million USD) to the Youth Building the Future program for large companies to hire young people without experience.
“This is a government program where we provide support, and the government contributes resources. There must be an open dialogue with human resource departments to ensure that the government pays young people,” said Joan Prats, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communication.
On the one hand, the government claims to advocate for young people, pays their salary on behalf of their employers, and dedicates resources to one of AMLO’s hobbies. On the other hand, it takes resources away from the healthcare system, thereby triggering a crisis in this sector. This is reflected in the death of newborn and unborn children.