Former Nicaraguan ministers cry out for help in the face of Ortega’s inaction during the COVID-19 pandemic

The former Health Ministers agree Nicaragua is at "Extreme Risk” from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Former Nicaraguan Health Ministers asked for urgent help from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) due to the crisis that nation is experiencing due to the lack of government actions to contain and address the COVID-19.

Personnel from Chinandega’s “Spanish” Hospital [“Hospital Espana”] clean furniture and other facilities in the hospital complex. Photo: Esta Semana
In a letter sent Monday signed by five different leaders that once presided over Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health: Lea Guido (1980-1985); Dora Maria Tellez (1985-1990); Lombardo Martinez Cabezas (1997-1999); Martha McCoy (1999-2000); and Margarita M. Gurdian (2004-2007), they note that despite the constant calls and proposals for combatting the pandemic issued by different sectors of the country, “in Nicaragua, such has been ignored, placing the health of the population at the gravest risk”  as far as the government is concerned.

They warn that Nicaraguan citizens are “at extreme risk” and there is also a serious risk for the Central American region.

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They are forceful in pointing out the inaction and contempt of sanitary measures by the Daniel Ortega government.

“Contrary to its constitutional mandate, the Ministry of Health has not informed the Nicaraguan population truthfully, objectively and transparently about the real situation of the pandemic. Additionally, and to aggravate the situation, the President and Vice President have been recurrent in their messages, minimizing the risk of COVID-19. The government has not only not properly promoted the basic measures of physical distancing and hygiene: it has promoted, in the last two months, activities that involve agglomeration of people, thus facilitating the conditions for a massive contagion that can result in high human losses “, says the letter.

They ensure that there are infected health personnel who continue to work in hospitals and clinics. “To date, there are a considerable number of infected professionals in health units, weakening the conditions for care for those who need it, and there are personnel fired on suspicion of having transparently informed families.

Civil society organizations, churches, business associations and human rights organizations, specialists in public health and medical personnel, have proposed actions and measures against the pandemic. However, the government has turned a deaf ear to these demands and proposals, “the document cites.

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Nicaragua is the country in Central America that officially reports the least number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, however, complaints from non-governmental organizations and citizens assure that hundreds of people have already died and there are thousands of infected.

In one of the last public appearances, Daniel Ortega, said that some of the recent deaths were associated with “atypical pneumonia.”

Neither information nor prevention

The five former ministers insist that the Coronavirus pandemic “is already affecting the population in an exponentially growing way, and especially the most vulnerable people.”

“Contrary to their constitutional mandate, the Ministry of Health hasn’t informed the Nicaraguan population in a truthful, objective and transparent way about the real situation of the pandemic,” they criticize.


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