Pregnant woman

El Zika y los derechos reproductivos

NUEVA YORK – Los mosquitos no conocen de fronteras; tampoco el miedo. Mientras los expertos en salud pública lidian con el virus del Zika, el pánico sigue propagándose por el mundo. Sin embargo, la crisis trajo a la luz dos verdades importantes.

La primera revelación es cuánto se han degradado los sistemas de salud pública en América Latina y en otras partes. Esto no sucedió por casualidad. En gran medida, es el resultado de la manera en que los prestadores a tasas preferentes, como el Fondo Monetario Internacional, presionaron a los países en desarrollo para que redujeran los gastos en el sector social, incluido el gasto en salud, a partir de 1980. En Brasil y otras partes, las autoridades estatales podrían haber implementado medidas bien conocidas y costo-efectivas para controlar las enfermedades generadas por la picadura de mosquitos, pero no lo hicieron. Sus ciudadanos más afectados, que tienen a ser pobres, se han visto obligados a convivir con las consecuencias.

Segundo, la epidemia de Zika ha revelado, con especial patetismo, otra amenaza terrible para la salud pública: la negación de los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres. Los gobiernos están eludiendo su responsabilidad también en este sentido, muchas veces de manera grotesca. El salto que se dio a conocer de los casos de microcefalia -un defecto de nacimiento- entre bebés en zonas afectadas por el Zika llevó a los gobiernos de Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador y El Salvador a advertirles a sus ciudadanas mujeres que "no se quedaran embarazadas".

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