Human right to health in Mexico 2023/11/18
The fourth paragraph of our Constitution establishes: “Every person has the right to health protection.” For its part, the World Health Organization reiterates that the enjoyment of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and that this right encompasses timely, acceptable and affordable access to care services of sufficient quality.
The Magna Carta recognizes that health protection is of utmost importance; determines that it is an obligation of the State to attend to it concurrently between the Federation and the federal entities, through a system that guarantees the progressive, quantitative and qualitative extension of comprehensive and free services for people who do not have social security.
The health system in Mexico was created in 1943 and since then it has been evolving—almost always—to achieve the democratization of this public service, until establishing it as an enforceable and justiciable human right. The above means that every person, regardless of income, residence, ethnic origin or employment situation, has the right to access quality medical service.
All efforts to reform the health system have been based—to a greater or lesser extent—on five values: equal opportunities, social inclusion, financial justice, co-responsibility and personal autonomy. The above represents a substantive theoretical advance in the field of human rights.
However, reality prevails and the guarantee of this right is an increasing challenge for the treasury. Because the figures indicate that our country obtained a tax collection of only 16.7% of the Gross Domestic Product in 2021, when the average for Latin America and the Caribbean is 21.7% and for the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), represents 34.1 percent.
In this space we talked a few weeks ago that the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, in the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Estimates, reported that people who declared they lacked essential health services increased from 20.1 million people in 2018, to the alarming figure of 50.4 million in 2022.
A few days ago, the OECD published the document Health Outlook 2023where it was diagnosed that life expectancy in our country is 75.4 years, 4.9 years below the OECD average, and that 36% of adults are obese compared to the average of member countries, which is 26 percent. .
The same organization estimates that, as a consequence of overweight and related diseases, over the next 30 years, the average lifespan of Mexicans will be reduced by 4.2 years.
Finally, he highlighted that our country spends $1,181 per capita on health, which is much less than the average of $4,986. In this way, Mexico is the country that occupies the 1st place lowest in health spending in the OECD, followed by Colombia and Costa Rica.
Making the human right to health effective is an irreplaceable need to try to moderate social inequalities. Guaranteeing effective access to health for people who have the least is the key to the enjoyment of many other rights; such as education, achieving a decent job, the possibility of progress in life, as well as achieving adequate social and economic development, not only for the people themselves, but also for the nation.
As Corollary the words of the American activist Martin Luther King; “Of all forms of inequality, health injustice is the most shocking and inhumane.”
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