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  • Woman outside the El Torax Cardiopulmonary Hospital, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, July 14, 2020.

    Woman outside the El Torax Cardiopulmonary Hospital, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, July 14, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 August 2020
Opinion

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the country's flimsy health care system.

The National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) former Rector Julieta Castellanos Wednesday pointed out that the State needs to assume a new health model and invest in the country's hospital network.

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"It is time to look towards a new health system. We need to revert the current situation and that the State once again takes responsibility for the health of our citizens," Castellanos stressed.

In Honduras' two main cities, Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela, public health centers are normally saturated by patients from other regions. Due to the pandemic, that situation has worsened even more.

The administration of President Juan Orlando Hernandez has alleged that it does not have more resources to expand the budget of the Health and Education ministries. However, "there has been plenty of money for the defense and security," the ex-rector recalled.

Although Honduras has spent large sums on actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hernandez administration has not implemented rigorous controls in the purchasing processes of medical equipment and materials.

To illustrate her doubts about the suitability of public procurement, Castellanos recalled that Invest-Honduras, an institution created to manage development programs, bought 1,500 ventilators without using adequate planning criteria.

After five months of the pandemic, the decision-makers' ignorance has become apparent, the former rector pointed out, stressing that politicians do not listen to suggestions made by doctors, epidemiologists, and virologists.

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