How Nicaragua's Community-Based Health System is tackling Coronavirus

NSCAG News | on: Sunday, 9 August 2020

Nicaraguans enjoy free community-based health care, based on prevention

Nicaraguans enjoy free community-based health care, based on prevention

Reproduced from an article by Kevin Zeese and John Perry in Popular Resistance (

Nicaragua’s Sandinista government is – like every other government – engaged in a struggle to limit the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on its people. But Nicaragua suffers two additional handicaps. One is that it is subject to US and European sanctions, which severely limit the aid it gets from abroad or from multilateral bodies. The other is its internal opposition, which aims to use the pandemic in its latest attempt to destabilize the government and turn opinion against it. To do so it employs a wide range of propaganda methods, at home and abroad. These were very evident in a recent article in the progressive platform Toward Freedom by Rafael Camacho, whose very title shows it is going to repeat the opposition’s messages: Coronavirus met with denial and silence in Nicaragua.

Sadly, almost every criticism made in Camacho’s article reflects the opposition’s arguments and ignores the reality of Nicaragua’s efforts – successful so far – to contain the pandemic. Here in brief is what the government did to prepare for it. Back in January, jointly with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO – the regional wing of the WHO), Nicaragua’s health ministry published its plan to tackle the virus. At this point most countries outside Asia had not even acknowledged the threat. Nicaragua intensified its health checks at all border points, later followed by 21-day quarantine for all new arrivals, with compliance monitored by health officials. It trained all 36,000 staff in the health service on how to face the epidemic. It began house-to-house visits, which now number over five million, to give advice direct to the population. A free telephone line was set up, which has received a huge number of calls. One hospital was set aside exclusively for respiratory cases during the crisis, and 18 others were also prepared for Covid-19 patients. These and other measures are set out in the Sandinista government’s 75-page white paper, published in May (and available in English). Camacho makes no mention of it.

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