Nicaraguan MDs Demand Covid-19 Prevention and Real Data

Doctors maintain that COVID-19 cases are still “rising on an exponential curve, without governmental measures or policies of contention and mitigation on a national level.” In the photo, a group of doctors who were fired demand to be reinstated at their jobs.  Photo: Jorge Torres / EFE

Nicaragua medical associations issue their third public message, this time without seals or signatures to avoid legal accusations, firings or other reprisals.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The medical associations of Nicaragua demanded of President Daniel Ortega that he prioritize “the common good, the health of the citizenry” and offer real data about the COVID-19 pandemic, to counter its spread.

In their third public message, this time without seals or signatures to avoid legal accusations, firings, or other reprisals, the doctors expressed their “profound concern for the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nicaragua.”

The Health Ministry statistics reflect a steadily growing number of new cases and deaths from COVID-19 every week. However, the Nicaraguan government has resisted all calls for restrictive measures or for broadening social prevention to avoid further spread of the pandemic, the doctors noted.

“We demand that the government of Nicaragua prioritize the common good and the health of the citizenry,” the doctors emphasized in their message. They warned that “the country needs all of the nation’s active forces to unite in efforts to safeguard people’s lives.”

The message from the doctors issued in May was ratified by 700 signatures. In that statement, they indicated that community spread of COVID-19 in Nicaragua was “rising on an exponential curve, without governmental measures and policies for contention and mitigation at a national level.”

They also warned about the “weakening of the public health system, among other reasons for: health workers off the job (due to) illness; and for the recent wave of firings of highly qualified doctors, for the simple fact of demanding adequate personal protective gear and for distributing donations for the self-care of health workers.”

They also warned of a “growing number of patients who are self-medicating, which exposes them to the risk of lethal complications,” since they don’t seek the hospital until their condition is critical.

No access to testing

The doctors further noted: “the centralization and lack of access to massive testing for COVID-19 leaves the nation’s entire health system without diagnostic tools.”  They criticized the fact that “the government continues promoting large-scale activities and in-person class attendance in all educational centers.”

The Ortega government has insisted that they are applying a so-called “unique strategy” for facing the pandemic, one which seeks to “balance” health needs and the economy. Nicaraguan authorities compared this strategy to that which Sweden put in place; however, the latter country abandoned this approach last May,

The physicians emphasized: “Nicaragua needs to recognize the fragility of its public health situation before its people and the world.”

Up until now, the Nicaragua government has admitted to 2,519 COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths. Meanwhile, on July 3rd, the independent monitoring organization “Citizen’s Covid-19 Observatory” reported 7,402 cases and 2,087 deaths.

“We insist on the need to make known the real data about the pandemic,” declared the doctors, some of which have confirmed the death of at least 78 health workers in Nicaragua, from infections suspected to be COVID-19.  According to independent data from the Citizen’s Observatory, which draws its data from a network of doctors and volunteers, the list of deceased health workers includes at least 34 doctors.

The Nicaraguan medical associations once more urged the government to “follow the recommendations of the Pan-American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, as well as assuming the measures suggested by the Central American Integration System to confront the pandemic.”

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