México state resident Houdini González lost both his mother and his brother in September to illnesses he firmly believes they could have survived had they gotten hospital care in time.
“They became ill, and we were looking for a place where we could take them, but we didn’t find one. When we finally did find help, it was too late,” he said in an interview with the newspaper Milenio.
Ironically, the González family, who lives in the city of Chicoloapan, lives 10 minutes away from an unfinished hospital construction site that has been sitting idle for the last seven years. Adding insult to injury, the site is an eyesore, with years of accumulated dust, and has been stripped over time of the wiring the plumbing in its walls by thieves looking to sell the copper for salvage.
The hospital’s situation is not unique. It is one of 10 hospitals across the state that were started years ago by previous state administrations and never finished. According to Edgar Samuel Ríos, once a Chicoloapan mayoral candidate, the projects represented millions of pesos in investment.
Ríos says the projects have been handed off from administration to administration, with no one finishing them or complying with federal requirements that would give the state money to complete the buildings.
State lawmaker Karina Labastida recently told Milenio that 981 million pesos would be required to finish the abandoned hospitals.
Chicoloapan’s hospital was supposed to offer internal medicine, OB/GYN, pediatric, and psychological services, plus X-ray equipment and laboratories and 18 hospital beds. Meanwhile, the city of Tlalnepantla was supposed to get a hospital in the Caracoles neighborhood, one of the state’s most populous, but today, as in Chicoloapan, the promised hospital is an unfinished shell, with no assurances from anyone about when or if it will be completed.
“It means insufficient healthcare for the people who live in the community,” said Sergio Martínez Solís, a Caracoles resident.
In the city of Ecatepec, residents were supposed to get a cancer hospital. After officials spent 800 million pesos on the project, it has sat unfinished for five years.
A petition with 60,000 México state residents’ signatures has made its way to Governor Alfredo de Mazo, demanding that the government finish the hospitals, but as yet the government has made no commitments. In Chicoloapan, all that residents have managed to accomplish is to clean up the trash and debris on the site themselves.
For Houdini González, the issue goes beyond his own family’s tragedies. Healthcare is a civil right, he said.
“Everyone has the right to health,” he said. “With human beings, you don’t gamble.”
Source: Milenio (sp)