Bolivian striking medical workers step up pressure for more health sector budget

Bolivia Health

After a 10-day hunger strike, Bolivia’s medical workers decided Saturday to increase pressure on the country’s legislature to pass a bill to allocate 10 percent of the state budget to the health sector.

The Union of the Medical Branches of Public Health representative Fernando Romero told reporters that union members have decided to request that the Ombudsman’s Office, the Department of Human Rights, and the Catholic Church become mediators between the union and the government.

In addition to the demand for budget, doctors are asking for improved working conditions to help them better confront COVID-19.

Romero said that despite scarce resources, health workers have been fighting on the frontlines since the outbreak, adding that a large number of the 4,000 health workers in La Paz have contracted the virus and more than 200 of them have died.

In response to the protests, president of the legislature’s lower house, Sergio Choque, asked the interim government of Bolivia on Friday to provide documentation of financial support.

“If it were a declarative law, the deputies would try and approve the law, but when it comes to economic resources, we need the Executive’s permission to say where the resources will come from,” he explained.

To date, Bolivia has registered 136,219 cases of COVID-19, with 8,045 deaths.

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