As the most significant health provider in the country, the Mexican Social Security Institute, otherwise known as IMSS, is a vital stakeholder in Mexico's health system and is a representation of much of the revenue in the private sector.

So, when this large company is experiencing an internal crisis, the national health system will be affected. As of Friday, more than a hundred IMSS employees are confirmed to have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

A considerable number of these infected health workers work in offices at Coahuila, Baja California Sur, and the state, Mexico.

The pandemic crisis has recently led hospitals to suspend discretionary medical procedures, furlough some high-risk employees, and recruit more health workers.

But for IMSS, their workers are planning to go on strike unless the management presents the provisions that guarantee the safety of the front line workers.

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Money on Medical Materials

Just recently, the IMSS administration announced plans to spend over 5 billion Mexican pesos worth of medical equipment. The amount is the roughly US$210 million.

According to the contents of the letter sent to the federal Finance Ministry, the immediate procurement of these medical supplies would be spent on the treatment of patients with the coronavirus.

Included in the list of the equipment are over 3,477 monitors, over 979 ventilators, 264 X-ray machines, 600 medical carts, 9,000 pulse oximeters, and 126 ultrasound machines. The rest of the funds are to be spent on over 600 beds for patients.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said in an announcement that the Mexican government would provide over 5,000 ventilators subsidized by different countries. The quantity of how many were reserved for IMSS health facilities is yet to be known.

Over the past month, the IMSS has been put in a hot seat by its health workers because the company failed to provide materials like personal protective equipment. Some of them have even threatened to go on a strike.

Protests Over Lack of Provisions

In mid-March, IMSS employees filled the streets to protest the management for poor leadership, inadequate equipment, and delayed response. They were chanting "Queremos material."

Dr. Armando Rosales Torres, head of the IMSS employee's union, explained that they were giving IMSS director Zoe Robledo a week to materialize the provisions that were promised to the front line health workers.

On another protest on March 24, chaos ensued between medical staff and authorities, resulting in bruises. Nurses and doctors alike raised concerns to local health union leader Sergio Herrera Vázquez.

It was explained that the 20 percent salary bonus was not worth risking their lives over if they had no protective equipment.

On that same day, Robledo was interviewed on television and acknowledged the concerns of the health workers but insisted that 80 percent of IMSS hospitals had enough supplies to continue treating patients with coronavirus that would last until the following week.