Only 15% of Colombia’s health workers received personal protection equipment (PPE’s) from the security companies that are supposed to provide them, according to a poll.
Consequently, more than half of the polled doctors and nurses felt forced to buy their own PPE’s, in some cases with the help of sponsors, according to the Colombian Medical Federation (FMC).
Healthcare intermediaries useless as always
The poll further puts the role played by the healthcare intermediaries into question, especially during the pandemic.
These private companies have been receiving Colombians’ compulsory healthcare payments and medical personnel’s labor insurance premiums, but appear not to be providing the equipment necessary to safely provide healthcare during the pandemic.
Hospitals previously complained that a government order to free up beds has pushed them towards bankruptcy as the intermediaries pay them per bed.
In fact, other than cashing in, it is unclear what the health intermediaries are doing or ought to be doing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Growing despair over government chaos
The failure of Healthcare Minister Fernando Ruiz to coordinate an organized response to the coronavirus crisis is causing growing despair in Congress, and among local governments and the medical community.
The FMC and other major medical organizations have stopped talking to the minister, claiming he has taken no action to prepare the country’s healthcare system for the eventual lifting of a lockdown.
The government of President Ivan Duque said it has canceled $1.5 billion debt owed to the hospitals six weeks after this was promised, but local governments have said no action has been taken to effectively bolster the provision of PPE’s and ventilators.
The chaos is preventing Duque from reactivating the economy as local governments are using their authority to prevent their hospitals from collapsing in the event a pending lockdown is lifted.