Elena García attended meeting after meeting, hoping to secure medicine for her son Alex and other children like him who are fighting cancer. But the meetings always yielded the same result: no response and no deliveries of medication.
The meetings, with the Institute of Health for Well-Being (Insabi) in Mexico City, were far from her home in Oaxaca. Every trip cost approximately 1,000 pesos (US $50), no small amount for García and the organization she founded, Con Causa, which advocates for children with cancer and helps them find medication amid an ongoing shortage of oncological drugs.
After traveling to 10 meetings, García finally gave up due to lack of resources and lack of results.
“They were not responding to us. Not even one vial [of medicine] arrived. It makes more sense to be raising funds,” García said from outside the Mexico City International Airport, where she protested with other parents of children with cancer on Tuesday.
García said the medication shortage first affected her family in 2018. In order to pay for the treatments that the government couldn’t provide, the family began to sell their possessions. They sold the family car and later began organizing raffles to raise money for medicine.
Later, García founded Con Causa and was able to raise more money and buy medication for her son and many other children.
Currently, the publicly available medication covers about 35% of what is needed, García said. A little more is paid for by nonprofit associations like her own. She hopes that the airport protests will push authorities to finally take action.
In July, Insabi “guaranteed” that there would be enough medication for treatment across the country. But the shortages continued. Then in November, President López Obrador directed public health officials to resolve the issue “without excuses,” but that too failed to solve the problem.
Most recently, the president has confirmed that the military will take on the delivery of medications to reduce shortages caused by distribution problems.
With reports from Reforma