Indigenous communities in Mexico have no access to healthcare amid the pandemic

Language barriers, social distancing: Mexico's indigenous face coronavirus (Photo: REUTERS)

It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century, and amid a pandemic, there are communities in Mexico that do not have access to medical services. Xocoyolo, in Puebla, was one of these communities; however, a doctor arrived in the community on July 14. The achievement is not the result of government efforts, instead, inhabitants used their own resources to hire a doctor and have access to health care. PUBLICIDAD

Although indigenous communities did not register COVID-19 cases for weeks or months, they are now under siege, and the situation has alarmed experts. According to official numbers, health authorities have registered at least 15,390 COVID-19 cases inside indigenous communities. Moreover, these communities have registered 1,882 coronavirus-related deaths, which means indigenous communities have a 12% mortality rate, 2% above the national 10% mortality rate. 

The Mexican government is aware that the right to health is not guaranteed in rural and indigenous communities. A year ago, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that those who live in a major city like Monterrey, Guadalajara, or Mexico City had access to better health care services that those who inhabit rural communities in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero. Therefore, the President suggested that doctors who decide to work in rural communities should receive higher incentives and salaries. 

The pandemic has shed light on the serious issues surrounding health care services in indigenous communities in Mexico. The problem worsens now that patients who traveled to nearby citifies to treat chronic illnesses had to stop their constant trips due to the restrictions implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19.

One of the keys to progress and to provide medical services to rural communities, which is the result of inequality, is to offer accessible and quality healthcare in areas with high poverty rates. 

This is a situation that the government cannot ignore once the pandemic is over. On the contrary, it is time to pay attention. For vulnerable communities, this is a life or death situation. Let’s not forget this. 

Source: El Universal