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Healthcare workers protest outside a Oaxaca hospital on Tuesday. Healthcare workers protest outside a Oaxaca hospital on Tuesday.

Hospital staff in Oaxaca protest shortages of supplies and medications

Workers say authorities have abandoned the hospital, which they say is overcrowded and undersupplied

Health workers at a Oaxaca city hospital took to the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest against shortages of medications and supplies and overcrowding at the facility.

Doctors, nurses and orderlies from the Dr. Aurelio Valdivieso General Hospital called on state and federal authorities to resolve the problems during a six-hour demonstration in front of the 8 Regions Fountain in the state capital.

They highlighted that it is up to them — not authorities — to have to tell patients and their families that they don’t have the medications they require.

“We see the pain of the patients, and we have to give them prescriptions so that they can go themselves to an external pharmacy and buy their own medication,” one nurse told reporters.

Health workers claimed that government authorities have abandoned the hospital, one of the oldest in the state. It is currently overwhelmed with patients, among whom are people seriously ill with Covid-19.

Outpatient appointments and administrative services were suspended during yesterday’s protest, but inpatients continued to receive treatment, said Alberto Vásquez, the hospital’s union representative.

He said the hospital has even run out of basic items such as rubbing alcohol and bleach, which is needed to disinfect parts of the facility where Covid patients are treated.

“… There is total indolence from those who should be most committed to the health sector, the [state health] minister and Governor Alejandro Murat,” Vásquez said.

“There have been five health ministers in five years of [this] government — turn around and look at us: there’s no health, there’s nothing,” he said.

In light of the situation, state Health Minister Juan Carlos Márquez Heine said he had initiated dialogue with the National Institute of Health for Well-Being, a federal health department also known as Insabi, with a view to regularizing the hospital’s supply of medications and other essentials.

Protests against medication and medical supplies shortages have been held across Mexico since 2019, mainly to denounce the lack of drugs to treat children with cancer. However, there were also numerous protests at the beginning of the pandemic, with health workers saying they lacked the personal protective equipment required to safely treat Covid-19 patients.

At least 2,397 health workers died with Covid-19 in Mexico last year, according to an Amnesty International report.

With reports from Reforma 

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