Almost 4 months after the entry of COVID-19 into our country and the application of the quarantine for this disease, for which the Ministry of Health took all the praise and applause both locally and internationally, since to date it is One of the countries with the fewest deaths from coronavirus, patients with other types of conditions claim that the entity also had to worry about controlling deaths from other diseases.
It is almost four months since public hospitals stopped receiving patients with other types of diseases. Practically all of them have become a reference to treat only respiratory cases and the main entity in charge of ensuring the health of Paraguayans has only been concerned with acquiring supplies for possible positive cases of coronavirus, although little or nothing has been specified for the purchases and have been alleviating the crisis with donations.
A vivid example is the case of cancer patients, who were left without the opportunity to continue fighting against this terrible disease that, as they say, “does not wait.” Since March, in La Nación we have been publishing complaints from patients who urgently need medications to continue their treatments.
They were clear when saying that the treatments must be complied with to the letter and that in the event that they are not fulfilled on the dates indicated for the next application – date indicated by the treating doctors -, all the treatment that had been carried out by 5 or 6 months was without effect and aggravating the disease.
Faced with the desire to obtain these medications, they appealed to justice from the first moment, so that through legal protection urgent cases can continue with the treatment, but all to no avail. To date, about 20 people with cancer have lost their lives with legal protection in hand, waiting for the drug that did not arrive or that arrived late.
“They need a decent place, they are sensitive, in great pain, they are dying, 8 sick in one room, and add to that the doctors, nurses and family members who take care of their relatives, that is overflowing. I know that it is not the fault of the professionals in white, they are also sick, they are people who also need, there is not only coronavirus in Paraguay, “said Maziela Gaona, niece of one of those affected.
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Just over 5 months have passed since this new fight for these patients, who in addition to fighting cancer must fight every day against a health system that ignores their requests. During this time both family members and patients joined to take to the streets. “We are not afraid of COVID, cancer does not wait,” they highlighted.
They affirm that it is very difficult to fire friends and loved ones who had the opportunity to defeat cancer and who, due to an inaction of the Ministry of Health, perished in the fight against this disease. “Patients are dying,” said Maru Vera, president of Apacfa.
Today from the Ministry of Health they affirmed that they are delivering the drugs to patients and that the purchases made were for the first doses that cancer patients need and, in fact, those affected are already receiving.
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In contact with La Nación, Maru Vera affirmed that today four patients received their medication that they needed with great urgency and that there are 14 more to whom it came out on the date, but only next week they will receive.
In addition, there are about 70 people with protection resources, who are complying with the waiting time for their treatment, who should receive treatment in the next few days.
The remedies that have already come out are Pembrolizumab and Afatinif, for 4 people who require two of each. Meanwhile, the five that will already enter the Basic list said that it would be bought on the fast track are Pertuzumab, Pembrolizumab, Fulvestram, Enzalutamide and Dacarbazine.
Related Note: Cancer Patients: Lack of Medication is a Matter of Life and Death
He stated that since December the association had been warning about the possible lack of medicine that could be given, but from Health they did not heed the warnings. “We have a count of the drugs that are used and who will need them, but they never pay attention,” he said.
He clarified that there are medicines that are lacking, but that they do not have a tender. “Since last year we have also been begging for imaging studies that are very expensive, in addition to transfers for people from the interior who only know the hospital,” he said.
He maintained that during the quarantine many patients from the interior lost their treatments, because they could not travel here. “About 100 people lost their treatments because they could not come, we asked the municipalities and governorates to help them, but we had no return. Only the Municipality of Yuty brought two of their patients, “he said.
During this time about 20 people died while waiting for the drugs, all of them had an appeal. “The resource comes out quickly, but the acquisition of medicines by Health is very bureaucratic,” he added.
He added that to ensure that these people who have endured the wait to date can receive their medications, they had to meet four times only during the pandemic with the people of the ministry, who promised to expedite purchases. “On many occasions everything ended in the nebula. We have the right to live ”, he affirmed.
He concluded that what hurts the most is that many died with the remedy in hand and when the medicine came out, they already died. He stressed that the fight continues and that they will be waiting for all patients to receive their medication. “We do not stay with the promises, from next week we will go out again to deliver all the medications.”
You can read: “Cancer does not wait,” say cancer patients demanding drugs