Assignment of family members to Sololá health district causes conflict and jeopardizes vaccination and other services – Prensa Libre

Assignment of family members to Sololá health district causes conflict and jeopardizes vaccination and other services – Prensa Libre

SNTSG requests the dismissal of the chief health officer. (Free press photo: Twitter Deputy Lucrecia Hernández Mack)


The internal audit of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) revealed that in Sololá there are at least 72 workers who have some degree of kinship. The health district manager is assessing whether it is necessary to terminate contracts or reorganize staff, but this has led to protests that have delayed procurement at the enterprise.

Since June 15, dozens of workers affiliated with the National Federation of Health Workers of Guatemala (SNTSG) have staged a sit-in in front of the Solola District Health Directorate. The director of the health district, Wilder Osvili Bautista, denounced that the plant has paralyzed purchases of freezers and other supplies that allow the opening of new vaccination centers.

Health workers are demanding that MSPAS fire Bautista after it requested an audit to determine whether there were workers hired with a certain degree of kinship in health facilities in Sololá that could be illegal.

MSPAS’s internal audit unit assessed 62 percent of the department’s employees, up to 1,352 workers, with the result that at least 72 people had siblings, spouses, partners, nephews, cousins, or children.

The audit establishes that in recent years there has been a lack of oversight and oversight by the department’s health authorities for the lack of policies that avoid hiring “human resources with degrees of kinship and/or kinship ties”.

In addition, he refers to the Law on the Integrity and Responsibility of Public Officials and Employees, which in Article 17, literally d, indicates that the employment of “wife and children are subordinates”, as well as taking advantage of the position for personal purposes. Or family benefits, I mean administrative responsibilities.

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Therefore, MSPAS internal audit recommends that the Executive Director of the Health Sector, together with the Chief of Staff, assess whether the appointment of family members to Sololá affects the provision of health services. And if necessary, the transfer of people to other areas or the termination of contracts is analyzed.

Risks

District Health Director Wilder Osvili Bautista comments that as a result of the sit-in, purchases have been paralyzed. He denounced the desire of many workers to come to work, but they were intimidated by their colleagues who participate in the protest every time they go to the facilities. For this reason, he recommended that they work remotely.

The official commented that there are 22 vaccination centers in the department, but only two have the equipment to store the Sputnik V vaccine. In order for more of these doses to be delivered next week, they suggested buying refrigerators and other supplies that allow this to protect the Russian vaccine. However, part of the procurement staff involved in the sit-in did not accelerate the acquisitions, as Bautista lamented.

We expected the following week to open eight new centers, which will have a total of ten applying the Sputnik vaccine. But we needed to buy refrigerators, because this vaccine is stored at minus 15 and 20 degrees below zero. Also special thermometers and dry ice, but the manager and the purchasing manager did not (the purchasing department),” the manager deplored.

Another of their concerns is that as of Friday, they had fuel vouchers for Q1,200, and a day across the department spending between Q700 and Q1 thousand, which means there is a risk of shortages. This may affect the distribution of vaccines to the various centers, as well as the operation of ambulances and the sending of tests to the capital to be processed.

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Finally, the director indicated that there is a judicial order issued by the Constitutional Court in 2018 ordering the union to refrain from carrying out sieges, closures, seizing facilities and paralyzing the operational and administrative activities of the health services, which according to his ruling. was disobeyed. For this reason, he will be required to go to court on Tuesday to highlight the situation.

deny the accusations

Cristian Gonzalez, conflict secretary for the SNTSG Management Branch, said one of his differences was that the health district manager had not complied with internal audit instructions to assess whether hiring family members affected the provision of services. In his opinion, this analysis is necessary because many workers are located in different regions, so it should not be harmful.

“The principal did not conduct this analysis, but arbitrarily decided to change his classmates from one district to another, which affects them economically,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez commented that they are calling for the manager to be fired because he mistreated the workers. Additionally, Solola’s health field implementation is barely at 39 percent, while it should be higher at this point, Gonzalez wondered.

Finally, he confirmed that the sit-in in front of the health zone was peaceful and denied that the demonstrators were threatening the rest of the workers. “Colleagues have been asked to do work remotely as they coordinate activities. Vaccination centers continue to vaccinate,” Gonzalez said.

Ovidiu Paz, Assistant Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH), said that over the next few days they will enhance dialogue between the parties involved so that administrative processes can be speeded up and health services are not affected.

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Representative Lucrecia Hernandez Mac also condemned the workers’ sit-in, and said that the provision of health services is being obstructed.


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