Covid-19 didn’t just increase mortality, but also Mexican spending to tackle this virus.
Covid-19, heart disease, and diabetes top the list of the deadliest diseases in Mexico. Some of these also make the list of the most expensive. On World Health Day, we analyze the country’s situation.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the diseases that caused the most deaths in Mexico from January to June of last year were Covid-19, followed by heart disease and diabetes mellitus.
According to INEGI, men represent the highest number of deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus, at 58.1%, with women at 41.8%. According to the survey, the population aged 65 and over were those with the most deaths from these causes.
Mexico City, Morelos, Guanajuato, and Puebla are the states with the most deaths from these diseases, while those least affected are Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Campeche.
In fact, the report entitled Out-of-pocket spending on chronic diseases can send a family into poverty (Spanish), carried out by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), analyzed three household situations with a case of diabetes and concluded the following:
Meanwhile, according to a report from the Federal Consumer Protection Agency that reveals hospital prices, the average annual cost for treatment of some of the most common diseases is as follows:
Health in Mexico is a luxury that not everyone can afford. 60% of the population live in conditions of poverty and half the population don’t have access to health services, according to the 2020 National Survey on Health and Nutrition (ENSANUT) for Covid-19, coordinated by the National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
According to the OECD, this situation translates into 90% of the population having basic health services, the lowest coverage in the region.
Although 52% of health care has been funded by the government since 2017, the country has the second-highest amount of “out-of-pocket household spending,” which accounted for an additional 41%.
Excessive out-of-pocket payments restrict people’s access to services and can lead to financial hardship. 5.5% of households experience catastrophic health spending, and poorer households are disproportionately affected.
The 2020 ENSANUT Survey for Covid-19 revealed a high use of pharmacy-adjacent clinics, which are linked to low quality services and higher out-of-pocket expenditure.
“The consequence was a serious distortion in terms of quality and timeliness of medical care, since diagnosis was suboptimal, followed by the prescription of medication that wasn’t necessary, such as antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, and anticoagulants,” the survey explained.
On the other hand, a preference for private care indicates the need to strengthen public health services, said Juan Ángel Rivera Dommarco, General Director of the National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
In the case of Covid-19, Arantxa Corchero, a researcher from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP), explained that: “7% of the population surveyed reported symptoms consistent with Covid-19. Of these, 65% were treated by the public health sector and 76% were treated by private services.”
In fact, Corchero said it’s estimated that 57% of Mexicans visit private health services. Between 2016 and 2020, household expenditure on health per quarter rose from 902 to 1,267 pesos on average.
These increases affected 35.7 million Mexicans, who didn’t have access to health services, said the researcher.
For example, in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus health emergency, the OECD recorded that health care systems in most countries in the region have a considerably lower than average capacity, with less health spending, fewer hospital beds and health professionals per 1,000 inhabitants, and weaker disease surveillance and monitoring systems.
For example, Mexico has a maximum of 2.1 beds per 1,000 people, while the OECD average is 4.7.
ENSANUT researchers concluded that these gaps show an urgent health reform is required for a health system that serves people without social security.