Ombudsman calls for a better Caja

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The ombudsman presented its annual labor report for 2017, which analyzes the progress and problems on the state of labor and health care rights in Costa Rica.

Before the report is submitted to authorities in government, the Defensoría de los Habitantes usually repeats the recommendations of the United Nations human rights commission. Part of these recommendations refer to the need to further universalize social security, reduce the waiting lists in health services and ensure adequate equipment as much as personnel are provided for medical services.

The ombudsman is quick to note that these recommendations coincide with the main concern that it receives from the general public: a need to ensure better health care. Around 24 percent of interventions conducted by the ombudsman for 2016 were situations reported against the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, the report found. Although the Caja has submitted plans to address these problems, the ombudsman believes that its implementation has not yielded satisfactory or convincing results, the watchdog said in a statement.

Total number of intervention requests from the public reached 22,887 in 2016.  The data was used to determine that the Caja was behind a substantial number of reasons for these requests. In second place came the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social at almost 18 percent of complaints followed by the municipality governments grouped together in a single statistic. The Ministerio de Educación Pública has also received complaints.

Defensoría said that, more often than not, it is the rural and urban poor who frequently submit these requests. The ombudsman has also followed up on its prior report on sustainable development objectives and the Agenda 2030, an evaluation on the state of poverty and democracy within Costa Rica.

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