Both the Peruvian Medical Federation (FMP) and the National Federation of Health Workers (FENUTSSA) started Wednesday a 48-hour national strike to demand that President Martin Vizcarra's administration increase the budget assigned to the public Integral Health System (SIS).
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"Enough, hospitals and health centers should not be postponed... We call on the president to put more emphasis on the health sector because the budget must be increased," the FMP president Danilo Salazar said.
Besides demanding better working conditions and salaries, doctors, technicians and administrative workers request that the government solve the shortage of equipment, medicines and laboratory supplies in health centers.
Salazar also denounced that the SIS facilities are in poor condition, do not have the equipment and are short of supplies, all of which severely complicates timely patient care.
The FMP president indicated that there are not currently enough health professionals in public centers due to the low budget assigned.
In the case of doctors, for instance, the WHO recommends a minimum of 23 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants; in Lima, however, there are only 18 and in the rest of the country only 6 or 7.
This situation means that Peru requires an increase of about "16,000 medical specialists throughout the country."
"Peru: right now there is strong repression against health workers who were demonstrating peacefully outside the Health Ministry."
In Lima, the Peruvian capital, "more than 80 percent of hospitals need repair because they are old. If there were a six-degree earthquake, hospitals would be the first buildings to fall," Salazar said and added the SIS pharmacies have only 30 percent of essential drugs.
FENUTSSA secretary Luis Alberto Suazo informed that his organization begins a national strike which could continue indefinitely until the Vizcarra administration also complies with an agreement signed in November 2018.
He explained that the stoppage starts because Health Minister Zulema Tomas recently promised to meet the Peruvian workers' request within 15 days but she has not done so.
FENUTSSA combines 195 unions and more than 95,000 nurses, technicians, and other health workers. These public servants announced that they will continue to attend medical emergencies during their strike.