According to an official document published by local media outlet Criterio, on September 17, the National Medical Directorate of the Honduran Institute of Social Security (IHSS) notified several doctors that on September 21, their special temporary contract during the COVID-19 health emergency would expire and the IHSS won't renew it.
"The non-renewal is based on the fact that there is no longer the institutional need to require their services due to the decrease in the number of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who require medical attention, determined by a technical opinion issued by the National Medical Directorate of the Honduran Institute of Social Security (IHSS)," the document explains.
Increíble! Despiden medicos que estuvieron en primera línea en esta guerra contra el COVID!! Y dicen tener al personal de salud para los hospitales móviles!!!!¡!! Siguen con su farsa! NO tienen nada! Desesperados estan por esta indignacion nacional de este ROBO pic.twitter.com/he60QQjbI0
"Incredible! They fire doctors who were in the front line in this war against COVID !! And they say they have health personnel for mobile hospitals !!!! !! They continue with their charade! They have nothing! They are desperate for the national outrage of this ROBBERY."
The decision has unleashed several protests across social media as some doctors already confirmed they would take the IHSS to court over the laid offs.
On Monday, the Medical College of Honduras (CMH) said it would demand the IHSS for the dismissal of 10 doctors in the San Pedro de Sula region over the weekend. The CMH director Carlos Umaña told local media Proceso that the doctors had issued a complaint. If an answer is not given before September 25, they will proceed with the demand that same day.
On the other hand, Dr. Suyapa Sosa, President of El Tórax Medical Association hospital, said via Twitter that it is "incredible" that the government fires "doctors that were in the frontline in this war against the COVID-19." Nevertheless, Sosa argues that the government has claimed to have "health personnel for mobile hospitals."
Honduras's COVID-19 death toll rose to 2.184 on Sunday. However, the Secretariat of Security announced that although the curfew is extended until October 4, more people are allowed to circulate during the day starting on Monday. The country started economic reactivation in mid-July, but 28 out of the 298 municipalities are still in phase cero due to the high rates of COVID-19 infections.