Doctors denounce the paralyzation of health services in Bolivar state

Association denounces the paralyzation of health services in Bolivar state. Doctors report that they are excluded from the fuel supply and even mistreated by security officers.

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Only three service stations are open in Guyana during the quarantine. Photo by Carlos Suniaga.

Medical dates, emergencies in clinics, doctor’s practices, and other health services in the state of Bolívar have been partially paralyzing since the national quarantine began, according to Hugo Lezama, president of the Ciudad Guayana medical association.

Lezama explains that the nation-wide shortage and rationing of gasoline during the quarantine intensified by an order from Governor Justo Noguera, who suppressed the sale of fuel in service stations.

“Many doctors are not going to their workplaces because they don’t have gasoline. They are not being refueled, and also are being mistreated by the security officers in the gas stations,” Lezama said.

In Ciudad Guayana, the most populated area of Bolivar, only three gas stations are working, but not all citizens can be refueled.

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Gasoline, according to the regional government, is supplied to vehicles belonging to citizens whose jobs are essential in the coronavirus quarantine like health care, food, pharmaceuticals, among others.

In his recent statements, the governor of Bolivar says that doctors and other health sector employees will be able to fuel their vehicles, but it is not like that in practice.

He also pointed out the critical situation to the citizens that not belong to an essential sector, and is not refueling, because it prevents him from mobilizing if they have a medical emergency or must go for medical attention.

Working in quarantine

Ledezma said that in the quarantine, he and other doctors continue to attend their patients with the gasoline they have left, “I have attending patients here who come from other health-center because the pediatrician did no arrive at the date due to lack of gasoline.”

He hopes the state government will avoid excluding the doctors from the gasoline supply, just because they are not on a list.

“I’m asking the regional government to reconsider this irregular situation that is happening with the health-care workers, we need to be able to supply our vehicles to do our job,” Lezama said.

Finally, he stands out that the quarantine, although it is an effective measure to prevent contagion, also is a big challenge for Venezuelans who have an empty pantry.

“Hopefully, after the storm comes the calm. But this quarantine is damaging the living standards of many people, there are medical practices closed, people have their refrigerators empty. We don’t know if the coronavirus is more dangerous than hunger,” he said.

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