AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Church calls for dialogue between government and doctors on strike and arrival of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine

Thursday, 25 February 2021 coronavirus   healthcare   local churches  


La Paz (Agenzia Fides) - A total of 500,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm were delivered to Bolivia on February 24th to vaccinate medical staff and the population at risk in Bolivia. As confirmed by the Bolivian President, 400,000 doses have been purchased from Bolivia and 100,000 are a donation from the Chinese government. Meanwhile, the health care situation in Bolivia is very tense: there is a doctors and nurses strike in progress, which began on February 19 and is expected to last until the end of the month.
The doctors' protest concerns the “health emergency law” promulgated by the government as it was passed in the absence of an agreement with the country's group of doctors. Among the various requests of the doctors are: the improvement of the working conditions of the medical staff, the possibility of recruiting foreign staff, the possibility of protest for the doctors' union, and much more. According to the local press, many private clinics will be closed on the basis of the new law.
Until yesterday the only proposal for dialogue came from the Catholic Church. Msgr.Ricardo Centellas, Bishop of the diocese of Sucre and President of the Bishops' Conference of Bolivia, invited both parties to quickly sit down at the negotiating table to jointly write the regulations for this Law and the doctors to abandon their rigid positions taken aimed at obtaining the cancellation of the law knowing that the government wishes to impose it.
This is not the first time that the Catholic Church has brought trade unions and the government together. On this occasion, according to Fides sources, doctors and nurses provide in all cases the entire service relating to Covid-19 patients while the number of staff is halved in other services.
A possible solution to this situation consists in a dialogue allowing the creation of a National Pandemic Coordination Commission to control the quality and costs of private medical services and drugs during the emergency. Bolivia currently has 246,000 cases of Covid-19, including 11,547 dead. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 25/2/2021)