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  HOME | Bolivia

Bolivian Government, Foes Argue Over How to Battle Dengue Epidemic

LA PAZ The socialist government of Bolivia and the right-wing opposition differ over the best strategy for dealing with the nation's dengue epidemic, the worst in its history.

The media reported on Friday the controversy between the Health Ministry and the administration of the opposition-run province of Santa Cruz on how to fight dengue, a disease that has infected 32,000 people in the country and has led to 19 deaths.

The national head of the strategy for the control and prevention of dengue and malaria, Juan Carlos Arraya, told Efe Friday that the government is "working with the Cuban medical brigade, which has a great deal of experience at controlling dengue in a number of countries."

According to Arraya, the formula used by the Cubans consists of "comprehensive care for the patient, going house to house, visiting them and doing the respective follow-ups, not just waiting for them to come to health centers."

"Staying with the patient, that's what the Cuban experience is all about," he said.

For his part, the director of the provincial health service in Santa Cruz, Erwin Saucedo, said that what ought to be applied is what is outlined in the Strategy of Comprehensive Care, or EGI, "a system from the United States."

But Arraya pointed out that EGI "is a conceptual 5-year framework prepared for Latin America" that does not contradict the strategy promoted by Cuban doctors, who have been providing health care to Bolivia's poor since shortly after President Evo Morales took office in January 2006.

Dengue, a disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes high fever, headache, vomiting and skin rashes, and can be fatal in its hemorrhagic version.

Bolivia's current epidemic is worse than that of 2007 in Paraguay, where 27,000 people were infected and 17 died. EFE
 

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