Guatemala. Health Ministry authorities granted an interview with Prensa Libre and Guatevisión to expand the details of the covid-19 pandemic.
Edwin Montevar, Deputy Minister of Primary Care at the Ministry of Health, pointed out that in Guatemala there are currently three scenarios, one of which is the emergency due to the epidemic, the collateral damage caused by this, which is an exacerbation of malnutrition, and the third is a return to normalcy.
He said they emphasize hand washing, mask use, and social distancing, and they also enhance prevention through early case detection and contact tracing, which is why the offer of rapid diagnostic tests has been expanded across the country.
He emphasized that they now have a COVID-19 vaccination strategy, a measure aimed at containing the epidemic. “Our goal is to reach 70% of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity,” he said.
He pointed out that temporary isolation centers are health institutions with a certain bed capacity in the event that centers for the care of moderate Covid-19 patients must be established.
The characteristics of these centers are the participation of civil society, local governments, churches and individuals who together with the Ministry of Health support the care and management of COVID-19 patients, in coordination with hospitals.
They will launch the training
Since last year, some of them have been considered and are now being strengthened, the official said. And he announced that they will launch in the first week of September a training strategy for case management in these temporary isolation centers and their management at home, “all accompanied by technicians and professionals who can support the population in self-care, always under the supervision of the direction of the health professional.”
The head of the epidemiology department, Lorena Gubern, was asked if there is anything here in Guatemala that is being evaluated in the long-term in terms of health clearances, and the official replied that it would be necessary to analyze, because it has a series of implications. Explain in detail this type of document that proves that the person has already been vaccinated and if he has already suffered from coronavirus.
He noted that these types of documents are easy to forge in Guatemala. He explained that this entry permit issue for entry into Guatemala has already been evaluated, but it must be known whether it is feasible and feasible for Guatemala.
“It hasn’t been thought about and it depends on how we see the situation,” he said.
He said that in the context of the health card, there are no procedures in place at the moment, but vaccination and its certification that ensure people are protecting themselves is working.
“For now, let’s say that creating documentation so that people can move more around at this time would be out of place because we’re in the biggest transition, when many countries are shutting down because of the delta variable,” he emphasized.
They were expecting more severe restrictions
He stressed that they expect, with the state of the disaster, that the restrictions will be more severe, because until last year work was done to close the borders and they recommended evaluating this possibility, but they know that the matter is complicated by the economic situation.
We would like to close everything.
“We would like to shut down everything we can in the country, not only to reduce transmission, to give health workers a break, to buy supplies, for our physical and spiritual exhaustion that we have been witnessing for over a year.” , He expressed.
He referred to the measures that were mentioned, such as closing the borders, mobilizing, and banning events. Tomorrow the next day and a temporary closure on Saturday and Sunday.”
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In this sense, Deputy Minister Montefar also indicated that there are existing procedures for the Ministerial Agreement 234-2020, which define how behavior should be in each municipality according to the color of the alert.
The ability to comply is also determined by the color of the alert, indicating the presence of harassment due to the sanctions imposed.
He stressed that they need support to enhance care for the disease, because through measures infection is prevented and lives are saved. “We know that these measures restrict rights at some point, but that’s the conscience we have to have.”
Expand the offer of tests
He stated that they have expanded the offer of tests to detect COVID-19; To date, health districts have used more than 774,600 antigens.
He said that they are working to ensure the testing service, and they currently have 280,253, and it is expected to donate more than 100,000, and by the end of next September, an additional million and 700 thousand tests will be made.
He clarified that there is an excess demand for the time the result is.
Montefar stressed that they have permanent monitoring of malnutrition, and this indicates that it increased in 2020 to more than 28 thousand cases, due to the collateral damage of the epidemic.
“In Guatemala, more than 70% of the population lives in an informal economy, which means that residents need to work, need to sell, and need to leave their homes to generate the income that allows them to survive,” he added.
He said that in 2020, in addition to the epidemic, there was a pandemic, which is the presence of two simultaneous epidemics. “In Guatemala we have coronavirus and we have malnutrition, we need to pay attention to these interventions.”
In 2021, he said, as part of the activities they are promoting, they have distributed more than 2.5 million kilograms of fortified complementary foods. A population of 525,400 children was reached at risk in terms of their food security.
“These are the things that we have to work on to reduce the impact of the epidemic on the population, which is why we are talking about the importance of returning to normal life because the epidemic continues, but the people of Guatemala need attention from other programs,” he noted.
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severe malnutrition cases
In the context of the epidemic, he said that by the 32nd epidemic week, 20 thousand and 97 cases of acute malnutrition had been discovered. The high altitudes, Alta Verapaz and the Dry Corridor are hardest hit, but the steep lane has increased in economically active populations such as Retalhuleu, Suitepéquez and Escuintla, where people are restricted by the coronavirus in their economic activity.
The Deputy Minister added that Minister Amelia Flores, who is positive for COVID-19, directs interventions from her home and gives guidance and accompaniment in the daily activity of the bag.
To do this, they have video and chat meetings, so the epidemic and vaccination are on hold, according to the official.
Source: Free Press.
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