A health of all and for all based on the Ecuadorian reality

Gender Equality United Nations

(United Nations, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Damary S. Jaramillo, a 2nd year student of Medicine and Surgery Career in Faculty of Medical Science in Universidad de Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador. Ms Jaramillo is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

We think 21st Century is synonymous of women and men with the same rights and opportunities, however one in three women suffer any type of rights violations in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) stablish gender equality means that “…women and men have equal conditions for realizing their full rights and potential to be healthy, contribute to health development, and benefit from the results.” Undoubtedly a clear, objective, ambitious and compromising definition. But, to what extent this definition has been its compliance? And is it possible to talk about ‘a health of all and for all’ in Ecuador and around the world?

No one denies efforts made for organizations and institutions committed with human rights and its implementation. However, gender inequality cannot be eradicated while inequality for resources, origin and beliefs remain latent. In this way, in medicine is possible to talk about inequality from two perspectives.

First, gender inequality for exercise of the profession. According to Cuadernos de Relaciones Laborales 2012 medical professional women are accepted as capable individuals and with the same level as their colleagues. But even so, the medical society remains giving priority to men in much areas and in case of maternity be a woman represents to loss the job. Whatever the reason it is trying conceal this procedure though socio-familiar rolls and feminization of medical specialties. All this not to mention the aggression from the patients to health personnel.

Second, gender inequality in medicine for associated conditions. Ecuador received the United Nations Public Service Award 2017 (UNPSA) for its investment and development within just nine years of government. But, regardless gender and conditions, patients have to wait at the hospital for days, weeks and even months for: diagnostics, prognostics, laboratory test, hospital orders, medicines, etc.

In public health care, those who have all priorities are those who provide money to security, have ‘best-looking’, profess catholic faith, are known by administrative staff and health care personal proper. In private health care, occurs the same but greater visibility in economic situation. As ironic as, is possible to talk about equality in this regard and the interest of a system for buying patients, selling treatments and obtaining recognitions.

Under this context, it is evident that gender inequality in medicine constitutes from its approach a simple preaching.  Hence, ‘a health of all and for all’ is part of the political strategy and thus a mere utopia for the population. For this reason, to think of government as the only way to achieve equality is a mistake, because corruption in term and action invalidate any efforts to achieve equality.

In such a way, its encourage to break precarious politics in health by proposition and requirement of improvement and reforms not only in care units but in all health system. Besides, to boost the empowerment of medical personnel of health institutions and the active participation of the community too.

References

  1. Pan American Health Organization. Gender Equality Policy [Internet].  20 July 2017 [cited 19 October 2017]. Available from: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2680%3Agender-equality-policy&catid=3344%3Agender&Itemid=4017&lang=en
  2. Haskins S, Prescher D. One big reason Ecuador draws U.S. retirees [Internet]. 7 July 2017 [cited 19 October 2017]. Available from: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/one-big-reason-ecuador-draws-us-retirees_us_596f8dabe4b02700a905eb78
  3. Jaramillo J. El absurdo sistema de Salud Pública en Ecuador [Internet]. 1 October 2013 [cited 19 October 2017]. Available from: http://ecuanomica.blogspot.com/2013/10/el-absurdo-sistema-de-salud-publica.html
  4. Pasto I, Belzunegui Á, Pontón P. Mujeres en sanidad: entre la igualdad y la desigualdad. Cud Rel Lab; 30(2): 497 – 518. Spain, 2012.

About the author

Damary S. Jaramillo, student of 2nd year of Medicine and Surgery Career in Faculty of Medical Science in Universidad de Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador. Active member of Asociación de Estudiantes de Medicina para Proyectos e Intercambios de la Universidad de Cuenca (AEMPPI – UCuenca part of AEMPPI – Ecuador).

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