The doctors' and nurses' strike against new medical malpractice laws has now reached its fifth week.
The Bolivian government and doctors began talks Sunday to end a strike that has now lasted 39 days. The doctors are protesting a law that establishes a system of fines, the stripping of credentials and even jail in grave cases of medical malpractice.
The meeting took place in the city of Santa Cruz, where a government delegation headed by Minister Carlos Romero met with and a delegation headed by Anibal Cruz.
The meeting could lead to a preliminary agreement that promotes the resumption of medical services throughout the Andean country and is a follow-up to a letter sent to the medical union last Saturday by Minister Romero.
The call for dialogue took place in the midst of the strike held by doctors employed by the national health services that were ordered by the Medical Association of Bolivia to reject the new Criminal Law System meant to prevent and penalize medical negligence.
Minister Romero announced that the meeting is being "coordinated with the purpose of generating conditions that allow for addressing issues within the health sector."
According to the government, the doctors' strike forced the suspension of at least 10,000 surgeries in the country, causing officials to demand that the work stoppage be ended "for humanitarian reasons".
Doctors and paramedics are opposed to Article 205 of the new Criminal Code that sanctions professional negligence and criminalizes medical malpractice while, according to the doctors, does not offer full guarantees to patients for their proper treatment.