While local authorities alerted Colombia’s healthcare system has begun collapsing, the Health Ministry said it has been strengthened.
Despite spending months on social media, reality threatens to slowly catch up on President Ivan Duque.
The number of deaths of COVID-19 continues to accelerate, local and regional authorities threaten to burst the president’s bubble so the Health Ministry jumped in his defense.
Cartagena: healthcare for the rich, police for the poor
Following the collapse of the remote Amazonas province in the southeast, the coronavirus has now begun collapsing healthcare systems in some of the country’s most important cities
“There are no intensive care units [ICU’s] left” in Cartagena, Senator Fernando Araujo, a local dynasty politician, told newspaper El Tiempo.
Local newspaper El Universal and political news website La Silla Vacia reported 15% of Cartagena’s ICU’s are still available, just not for the poor.
According to El Universal, the city’s elite requested the quarantine of the city’s poor neighborhoods where the virus has spiraled out of control, and with success, confirmed by La Silla Vacia.
The neighborhoods “where poverty and factors such as overcrowding and gang rule make total confinement even more difficult” were simply quarantined, leaving its residents at the mercy of the virus.
What is disturbing is that this is happening in several of the large popular neighborhoods that register more cases, “the other Cartagena” as some call it to differentiate it from the tourist city of postcards.
La Silla Vacia
The Colombian Medical Federation for months has warned private healthcare intermediaries were doing this, but were simply ignored by Duque and his Health Minister Fernando Ruiz.
Exactly like in Amazonas, the government sent in the security forces instead of healthcare equipment.
Meanwhile, Cartagena “has pretty much collapsed,” according to La Silla Vacia.
One week after promising health supplies to southeast Colombia, government vows aid to bury the dead
West Colombia’s healthcare tragedy
The mayors of the country’s third largest city Cali, Jorge Ivan Ospina, the interim mayor of the country’s Pacific port city Buenaventura, Victor Hugo Vidal, indicated they will not be able to reactivate the economy as Duque wants, unless the government delivers the healthcare reinforcement they were promised since March.
The government’s failure to bolster healthcare as promised has brought their cities’ hospitals to the brink of collapse, the mayors said Wednesday.
Many of our strategies and proposals for the reactivation of various sectors will have to wait. It is impossible to put lives at risk and we must think not only of patient care in Cali but also in Buenaventura and the metropolitan area.
Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina
Buenaventura is Colombia’s largest port city and crucial for much of the country’s food imports, but the hospital in the city of 400,000 resident only has 25 ICU’s and never received promised aid to confront the pandemic.
In a letter, the city’s interim mayor asked Duque not to allow any further economic reactivation while the historically neglected city is unable to deal with the pandemic.
If the country keeps up this pace of opening up, opening up and opening up, and Buenaventura is included there, it will make it very difficult to control the situation, so we ask the National Government not to include Buenaventura in the activation
Buenaventura Mayor Victor Hugo Vidal
“Buenaventura is not prepared,” regional Health Secretary Maria Cristina Lesmes confirmed.
According to local hospital director Julio Gomez, this is in part because the government was as busy reactivating the economy as it was slow to reinforce healthcare.
We have been waiting for the 56 beds that the Ministry of Health promised us in mid-April.
Hospital director Julio Gomez
Also in the neighboring Choco province, which doesn’t even have an ICU, “the situation is more critical than you can imagine,” Interim Governor Jefferson Mena told newspaper El Tiempo.
Mena replaced suspended governor Ariel Palacios, who allegedly used the crisis to go on an embezzlement binge, leaving the main hospital without resources.
What they’ve done with the hospital has no name, it’s put the people of Choco in danger of death, it’s a disaster.
Choco interim Governor Jefferson Mena
The situation in Tumaco, a port city on the Ecuadorean border, is also spiraling out of control, according to locals.
According to the National Health Institute, the number of infections in the city has shot up to 530 while the city’s hospital received only six ventilators.
Opposition Senator Gustavo Bolivar said on Twitter that “it’s waiting for another massacre, this time by COVID-10.”
Also in Tumaco, the government has completely ignored the situation, social leader Denis Obregon told public radio station Radio Nacional.
For two and a half months we have been waiting for humanitarian aid in Tumaco. They have forgotten us, we are practically starving.
Tumaco social leader social leader Denis Obregon
The Health Ministry disagreed, claiming Wednesday that “today, Colombia has a healthcare system that has been strengthened and trained to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.”