(QCOSTARICA) Starting in July, Nicaragua, through the Ministry of Health (MINSA) will be in charge of the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA), an instance from which the regional problems of the health, and at the special juncture of the COVID-19 promotes the Regional Contingency Plan approved in March.
These responsibilities come to Nicaragua in the midst of a health crisis, in which independent epidemiologists and medical associations have questioned the actions of its Ministry of Health (MINSA) in dealing with the pandemic, one of the most significant being centralization of tests to detect cases of COVID-19 and the lack of protection of health personnel.
The former health minister, Margarita Gurdián, expressed that it is contradictory for the country to assume that responsibility when it is not complying with all the provisions of the regional plan.
“You are indicating – in a very contradictory way – that Nicaragua assumes an executive secretariat, whose function is to implement what has been agreed and that the country is not complying with it, is not showing signs of complying,” she said.
“It is not only contradictory, but it is also a shame, a regional shame,” she added.
In accordance with the Central American Integration System (SICA), the function of the Pro-Tempore presidency is to articulate and coordinate between the Member States and the secretariats and institutions of the SICA for the development of the integration agenda for a period of six months, according to the rotation, which is done by geographical order.
This Thursday it was announced that Nicaragua would receive the Comisca’s after Honduras, currently holding the position.
The regional plan for COVID is based on three axes: health and risk management; trade and finance, and security, justice and migration.
In the first, it establishes, with respect to patient management measures in each type of case, “apply the measures for patient care, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines”, which includes within the actions “constantly update the existing national care guidelines in accordance with specific WHO recommendations for COVID-19 care.”
However, in Nicaragua it is not known what MINSA’s management is with patients in health units. The relatives of patients have to wait for them to call them to inform them of their status, there is no more information.
“The prevention and containment measures that PAHO is recommending are not being followed,” said Gurdián, in addition to measures for patient management, transparency of information, and individual protection of health personnel, he said.
Decision is already regulated
Epidemiologist Álvaro Ramírez explains that the rotation of the Pro Tempore presidency of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (Comisca), which Nicaragua will assume is already regulated, has existed since before the COVID-19 epidemic, and is not subject to the management that a country has in the face of an emergency situation, such as the one that has arisen in Nicaragua with the new coronavirus.
“This is not going to change the situation because it is an established international agreement, regardless of any pandemic,” he said.
He added that although perhaps, it is morally inappropriate, for all the questioning that has been made of the Ministry of Health (MINDA), it legally corresponds to it, and it will assume it.
One of the big questions in Nicaragua is the real impact of COVID-19 since doctors assure the underreporting of cases and deaths prevails.
The Government, that has maintained a policy of secrecy regarding everything related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country
. Even how the PCR tests are applied is unknown. “It is a contradiction,” says former minister