A prominent member of an opposition party has been appointed Jalisco’s new health secretary in a bid to “troubleshoot” multiple deficiencies affecting the state institution.
Former Guadalajara Mayor Alfonso Petersen Farah this week stepped away from his role as leader of the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) faction in the city council to assume a post that is not unfamiliar to him – he served as Secretario de Salud from 2001 to 2005 and again as substitute director during the flu pandemic of 2009.
Respected by all sides of the political divide, Petersen is a trained doctor who has dedicated the past decade of his life to party politics. In accepting the call from Governor Aristoteles Sandoval this week, he joked that he would be leaving the “dengue of politics for the dengue of public health.”
Petersen said his primary task will be to carry out a “diagnosis” of the institution’s failing financial and administrative situation.
During a swearing-in ceremony Monday, Sandoval admitted users of the state public health system are unhappy, especially with the shortage of medicines and the quality of care received. Doctors have been highly critical of the manner in which the department has been run in recent years.
According to the official version, outgoing director Antonio Cruces stepped down to run for mayor of Zapopan in 2018. He only took over as health secretary in April of this year.