Medical organizations said Monday that Colombia’s President Ivan Duque has failed to live up to promises to help health workers combat the coronavirus.
In an open letter, The Colombian Federation of Medical Unions, the Colombian Association of Scientific Societies and the Colombian Medical College said they never received little more than promises.
It is incomprehensible to us that in the midst of a situation as delicate and pressing as the COVID-19 pandemic we have received nothing but ovations, applause, words of praise and promises that have so far failed to materialize or represent a crucial improvement in our precarious working conditions.
The health organizations accused the administration of making more effort to evade responsibility than to effectively protect the lives of the health workers on the frontline of the pandemic.
“To date we continue having difficulties related to the provision, the sufficiency in availability and existence, and the quality of equipment,” according to the organizations.
The health workers added that promised improvements of their often precarious labor situation have been diluted by exceptions and conditions that are basically a bonus.
If a health worker is infected by the coronavirus and unable to work, this is only considered a work-related illness if related to patients with evident symptoms, “a condition we find absurd when 80% of the COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic,” the organizations said.
Additionally, health workers are not paid if they have to go into quarantine after having been in touch with an infected patient and have no life insurance in case they die of COVID-19.
The organizations additionally rejected the fact that hospitals and healthcare intermediaries have suspended or ended contracts with health workers in the weeks leading up to the expected peak in June and July.
The health workers are the latest accusing Duque and his administration of making promises that are never or only partially fulfilled.