Health spending during the pandemic was less than 2019

Study warns that only in April 2019, USD 356 million and USD 223 million were invested in the same month of 2020.

A publication by the Analysis and Conjuncture Studies Unit of the Economic Research Institute of the Central University of Ecuador (IIE) revealed that health spending in Ecuador, during the pandemic, was less than in 2019.

The article by Jonathan Báez Valencia highlights that the cut in resources and adjustments in the public sector due to the dismissal of medical personnel before the pandemic could have been the cause of an increase in the number of deaths from the coronavirus.

The study indicates that the spending made in the health sector during the first semester of 2020, the main period of the pandemic, shows that this was lower compared to the same cycle in 2019.

In this context, it specifies that the payment of the external debt to the holders would have removed resources to attend to the health emergency, which should reflect a better deployment of resources to save lives.

He explains that since April there has been a decrease in health spending and he asks the Ministry of Economy and Finance why there are no disbursements that reflect the deployment of resources to address the health emergency, which given the situation should rather exceed the levels of last year.

For example, in April 2019, USD 356 million was invested in the health sector; while in 2020, USD 223 million in the same month. In May 2019, the figure was USD 273 million and in May 2020, USD 165 million.

In June 2019, investment in health amounted to USD 229 million compared to the same month of 2020, which was USD 165 million. The study refers to these figures that would be from the Undersecretary of Budget of the Ministry of Economy

He adds that in almost all Latin American countries money was allocated to attend to the health emergency. However, according to ECLAC, Ecuador is below the average for the region, allocating 3.5% of GDP; while in countries like El Salvador this level reaches 11.1%. Even Argentina, which also has considerable external debt, allocated 3.9% of its GDP.

The article concludes that this is a “clearer example of subordinating life to capital”.

Source: Institute of Economic Research of the Central University of Ecuador

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