What will happen to health in Ecuador next year? The amount allocated to this sectorin the budget proforma makes doctors, patients and a group of assembly members anticipate a discouraging panorama. With fewer resources for medicines, for nutrition programs, for training in prevention, for the institute in charge of transplants and for the agency that controls the quality of medicines, it is feared that health may collapse in the country.
The worries are several. The Ecuadorian Medical Federation (FME), which brings together 14 medical schools in the country (more than 20,000 professionals),has doubts about the future of the National Table of Basic Drugs, which has not been updated for five years. “This year, about 300 million dollars were missing in the budget to finance the painting. What makes us think that in2019, with an equal budget, we will achieve it?” Says Ernesto Carrasco,president of the union.
This professional also indicates that if there are not enough funds, how will hospitals like the South Guasmo, inaugurated on January 17 of last year, or Mount Sinai, which started its progressive opening in July, be able to take care of all next year?. And to this it is added that there would be a lack of funds to reopen the pulmonary hospital Alfredo J. Valenzuela if this were the case (they are in legal conflict).
Patient salso ask for more funds in the health budget. “This year we see that the care is going down, there are hospitals built, but they do not have the necessary staff and they deliver medicine of lower quality … With less funds,what awaits us in 2019,” says Dora García, of the association of kidney patients.
On Monday afternoon, the Minister of Health, Verónica Espinosa, appeared before the Health Committee of the Assembly to explain why the resources for this year have not been paid in full. She said that until November 26 it was done in 87%and that until December it will reach 99%. Assemblywoman Polly Ugarte talks about poor budget execution. She said that we must be vigilant, because in items such as drugs there is a 17% reduction, as in the amounts allocated for agencies that perform health and health control and in the program to reduce the levels of malnutrition in the country. , which insures goes from 20 million dollars to 5 million.
A newe ntity generates controversy
Aministerial agreement that establishes the creation of the National Central forthe Supply of Medicines and Essential Medical Devices (Cenamed) receives criticism from the medical profession.
They assure that while on the one hand they try to be austere, on the other bureaucratic entities are created and that, to maintain it, part of the health budget must be used, which will generate a greater lack of funds. They say that Cenamed will demand costs in equipment and personnel.
The clinics ask for payment from the Government
The National Association of Clinics and Private Hospitals of Ecuador is asking the Government to pay nearly 220 million dollars, which they say they owe to 40 of their members for the medical services rendered.
The union reported that these establishments are going through a problem of lack of liquidity that in some cases dates from 2009. They have asked President Lenin Moreno to receive a delegation to explain the crisis they are going through.(I)