January 15, 2017
Rampart corruption coupled with state policies that hurt the poor and benefit the wealthy few are eroding what is left of the public healthcare system in the Dominican Republic.
On Jan. 14, hundreds marched to demand more funding for public healthcare services, reports Prensa Latina. Organized by the Alianza por el Derecho de la Salud (Alliance for the Right to Healthcare, ADESA), a coalition of more than 30 grassroots organizations, the march is the first of a series of actions that will take place across the country.
Marchers demanded that the government of President Danilo Medina allocate 5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fund healthcare, according to El Caribe newspaper.
The healthcare crisis is so acute that in 2017 alone 2835 newborn babies died due to a lack of basic services, according to a recently published government-sponsored report. In addition, the report also states that 188 women who were pregnant died during pregnancy and after giving birth.
Medina’s government has come under scrutiny for its lack of transparency and the spread of corruption practices in every sphere of government.
Both commentators and activists point out the negative effects of the government’s irrational, self-serving and chaotic economic policies—such as indebting the country to foreign lenders like the World Bank. At the end, ordinary people suffer due to these economic policies, as President Medina would rather invest in construction projects over healthcare or education.
The recent healthcare march is part of a larger movement that began last year with the Marcha Verde mobilizations.