July 11, 2020

Medical staff attending COVID-19 in Guatemala denounces non-payment

The health personnel of the Parque de la Industria campaign hospital, specifically adapted to serve patients with COVID-19 in Guatemala, denounced this Saturday that they have not received their salary after two months of work.

“This time we resorted to the media, as on previous occasions we have not been able to get this type of information to our immediate authorities,” a spokesperson for the health personnel said at a press conference outside the hospital.

According to the doctors, they are owed 68 days of work on site, a convention center converted into a field hospital since the first case in Guatemala was detected on March 13.

The spokeswoman, accompanied by nine colleagues, explained that this Saturday’s message is “specifically” addressed to the country’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, and to the health minister, Hugo Monroy.

Monroy himself pointed out on Friday night at a press conference that all the salaries of the health personnel had been paid.

Another spokesperson for the hospital staff explained this Saturday that the authorities were given a period of seven days to resolve the absence of wages and other complaints such as lack of personnel and equipment, because otherwise they would resign their positions.

The doctors also thanked the “donations” of “equipment and food” they receive from the population.

Hospital health staff had already publicly complained about the lack of payment on previous occasions, which even led to resignations within the hospital.

At least 260 Guatemalan officials have contracted the disease among police officers – more than 150 -, municipal traffic agents, soldiers, members of the health system and workers from some ministries, according to various state sources.

Last Saturday, the first coronavirus death of a member of the health staff, a nursing assistant who worked in a hospital in the west of the country, was recorded.

According to local media, a doctor in the private sector died this Friday also from COVID-19, and two more members of the medical staff have died from the disease, although this version has not been confirmed by the authorities.

Guatemala has one of the weakest health systems on the continent, according to international organizations, and until the last update on Friday it had 90 deaths and 4,607 infected.


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