MANAGUA – The Nicaraguan National Assembly (parliament) honored public health workers on Thursday for their role at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused 123 deaths and 3,902 infected in the country since mid-March.
Minister of Health Martha Reyes received the National Assembly Gold Medal of Honor on behalf of the health personnel from Gustavo Porras, head of parliament.
Porras, who is the general secretary of the Federation of Health Workers (Fetsalud), to which the majority of the award winners belong, explained during the ceremony that this recognition took place within the framework of National Health Workers Day on Aug. 8 and for outstanding work against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The National Assembly recognizes the heroic arduous work carried out by the health workers union in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” read the first secretary of parliament, Loria Raquel Dixon.
At least 101 health workers, including 44 doctors, have died suspected of having contracted the new coronavirus in Nicaragua, according to figures from the independent COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, which is not recognized by the authorities.
The number of deceased health workers represents 4 percent of the 2,537 deaths from pneumonia and other symptoms related to COVID-19, reported the Observatory, made up of a network of doctors and volunteers from all over Nicaragua.
The health ministry, which has reported 123 COVID-19 deaths in total, does not provide details on the occupation of the victims of the pandemic.
According to the Citizen Observatory, of the 101 health workers who have died, 44 were doctors, 22 were nurses, 14 were administrative personnel, eight were laboratory personnel, three medical visitors, three dentists, and seven who were part of the support staff classified as “other.”
The network of doctors and volunteers detailed that some 756 health workers have presented “associated or presumptive symptoms of COVID-19, from all departments and regions” of Nicaragua.
The “verified suspected cases” of COVID-19 reported so far by the Observatory total 9,044, a number much higher than the 3,902 reported by the Ministry of Health.
Both the Nicaraguan Medical Unit, as well as Nicaraguan medical associations, have publicly shown their support for the data from the COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, and have called on the government to show the “real figures” of the pandemic.
The handling of the pandemic in Nicaragua has raised concerns in the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and their offices dedicated to health and human rights.