The General Health Council, the highest health authority in the country, has not met so far in 2022. Even the session that was scheduled for July 13 was suspended due to the internal problems faced by this collegiate body.
With this, the General Health Council is already in short supply in its functions, since its regulations establish that it must meet at least twice a year on a semi-annual basis.
Among the issues that were going to be discussed in the july 13 session are precisely those that, according to the sources consulted by Animal Político, generated the discrepancies between Santos Preciado and Alberto Gómez with Jorge Alcocer and Hugo López-Gatell, undersecretary of health: the National Pharmaceutical Policy (that is, access and availability of medicines for the population) and the National Registry of Rare Diseases.
Other experts say that civil society organizations were promoting, with the support of pharmaceutical companies, this registry of rare diseases, so Undersecretary López-Gatell decided to throw it back, even if this means leaving without adequate care to those who suffer from them.
The General Health Council is a collegiate body that deals with all public health issues, but also issues where they are impacted, with an epidemic or problems of an economic, labor and migration nature; that is why the heads of the secretaries of state, the business sector, academia and medical organizations participate in it.
The sessions are convened by the president of this body, which is the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer, but he does so through the general secretariat, however, until this July 17, it remains acephalous due to the resignation, on July 6, of its owner, José Ignacio Santos Preciado.
In 2022, the Council has not met once. The first meeting of the year was scheduled for July 13, but was suspended, after the resignations not only of Santos Preciado but of six other officials, including number three, Alberto Gómez, technical secretary.
Health Council: How was it integrated?
As interim manager is José Serafín Marín Macías, according to information provided by authorities of the Ministry of Health to this portal.
Marín Macías is a professional career lawyer. He joined the Ministry of Health in 2009 as deputy area director of the General Directorate of Legal Affairs. He now holds the position of coordinator of Interinstitutional Relations of the Advocate General of the Ministry of Health, which in this case is Marisela Leucona.
According to the internal sources of the Ministry of Health, leaving Serafín Marín in charge of the affairs of the CSG is a surprise, since he is not one of the favorites of the attorney general. However, the fact that he has now been in charge does not mean that he will replace Santos Preciado.
What will happen to the place?
In reality that place is empty because according to the regulations, the only one who can make the appointment is the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer. However, in fact, the one who will end up making the appointment is President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
According to specialists there are two options: appoint a new secretary general or convene an ordinary session of the CSG through the interim Serafín Marín.
What the Council’s Rules of Procedure say is that in the absence of the Secretary General, who has among his functions to convene the sessions, he will be replaced by the public servant of immediate lower hierarchy, which in this case is Alberto Gómez, who also resigned. The regulation does not indicate what is happening in this case.
It was on July 6, when Animal Político reported that the secretary general of the CSG, Santos Preciado, had resigned, along with six other members of his team.
The reason for the resignation was the discrepancies with Alcocer and López-Gatell. Although it later transpired, this confirmed by federal sources, that at least two of the officials who had resigned had open investigations for alleged administrative irregularities. These are still ongoing.
Health sector authorities and specialists say that the General Health Council is weakened and at risk, although to eliminate it would have to change the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, where the existence of this collegiate body is enshrined.
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