Half-built or unbuilt 'modular covid hospitals' in Nicaragua

Half-built or unbuilt ‘modular covid hospitals’ in Nicaragua

Nicaragua marked a year since it announced the construction of six modular or prefabricated hospitals for the care of patients with covid-19. However, medical sources confirm that these rapid construction works are not yet finished and, in some areas, have not even started.

“A construction has been going on here since the end of August or October (last). I don’t remember the exact date. I understand that it is for covid patients, but it is not over yet, ”says a source close to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, in Estelí, one of the six hospitals where the installation of this space was announced.

These hospitals were financed with a loan of 114.6 million dollars that Nicaragua acquired with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the United Kingdom credit agency, which was approved in March 2021 and ratified in June, during a visit by the bank owner, Dante Mossi.

In that meeting, CABEI’s executive president signed the financing contracts for 100 million dollars for the acquisition of vaccines against covid-19 and 18.5 million dollars for the execution of “tranche A” or first part, of the project of modular hospitals. Then last October, the National Assembly approved “tranche B” of the loan.

Installation will be in departmental hospitals

The six modular hospitals will be pre-designed and manufactured with pre-industrialized steel, and will be installed on the grounds of six departmental hospitals in the country. Two will be built in Managua, one at the Manolo Morales Hospital and the other at the German Nicaraguan Hospital (HAN). In Masaya at the Humberto Alvarado Hospital; in Matagalpa at the César Amador Molina Hospital; in Estelí at the San Juan de Dios Hospital; and in Juigalpa at the Asunción Hospital.

The construction of these modular hospitals is expected to add an additional 408 hospital beds. However, there are no details about what medical equipment they will have.

A HAN source reveals to CONFIDENTIAL that in this hospital no construction has begun and neither “has there been any mention of it, nor have any intentions of construction been seen or anything like that.”

“What I can tell you is that there is a large part of the hospital that is abandoned and when covid-19 started, I heard that it would be enabled to attend to everything that was covid. I have heard a lot about that because the truth is that all that disused space is very large, which coincidentally shares space with the Silais Managua facilities, but it has not been seen or heard of lately,” explains the source.

Modular hospitals are not in the Minsa budget

According to CABEI, the financing of this project will be divided into two parts. The first for 18.5 million dollars, and the second for 96.1 million dollars. The latter was already approved by the National Assembly, in October 2021.

With the loan, an Outpatient Oncology Consultation area will also be built, with its equipment in the Bertha Calderón Hospital in Managua, with a capacity for 30 beds. In addition, a molecular biology laboratory will supposedly be equipped in the Estelí hospital.

Little information is available about this project. At the end of July 2021, it became known —through the Silais-Managua page— that the construction and equipment of these hospitals would be in charge of the Indian company Cosmos International Private Limited, which was ratified in the loan contract signed in October.

The construction of these hospitals is not included in the Minsa budget for 2022 either. The document details that, this year, 369,366,000 córdobas will be allocated for the construction, equipment and improvements of various health units in the country, but not This project is included. On CABEI’s page on operations, only section “A” of the project appears, but there are no details of how much was disbursed.

In addition, the financing agreement for tranche “B” specifies several confidentiality clauses where they establish that “the agent and the borrower undertake to maintain the confidentiality of each type of financing and not to disclose it to anyone.”

CABEI loan paid for vaccines

This week, CABEI reported that with the first disbursement of the $100 million loan, intended for the purchase of supplies and vaccines against covid-19, the Ortega government financed the purchase of Russian and AstraZeneca vaccines that were acquired from through the PAHO Revolving Fund.

“The acquired vaccines are Sputnik V and AstraZeneca, which have been applied in stages and priority groups, including workers at border posts, teachers, tourism professionals, risk groups between 40 and 49 years old (50% of the target population). ), and between 18 and 39 years old (20% of the target population)”, details CABEI in a press release.

Likewise, they highlight that with the purchase of these, the Minsa managed to apply 4.9 million doses, with which it guaranteed the complete scheme of 2.4 million Nicaraguans. This was achieved by the first disbursement of 23.8 million dollars that have already been delivered from the total loan.

As announced by the vice president and state spokesperson, Rosario Murillo, 15.8 million dollars were invested in the purchase of 2.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The remaining eight million would have been used to pay for the 726,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. Initially, the CABEI contract established that only biologicals that had already been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) could be purchased, which did not complies with the Russian vaccine.

Until January 2022, Nicaragua has received 15.4 million of eight types of vaccines against covid-19. With these, he managed to immunize 61% of the population with both doses, according to what the Minsa reported to PAHO.

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