Ombudsman asks President Moreno to remove the Minister of Health

The Ombudsman, Freddy Carrión, asked President Lenín Moreno to dismiss the Minister of Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos, for the irregularities reported, during the first days of the vaccination plan.

Carrión points out that there is «a conflict of interest and lack of transparency in public management regarding the distribution and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.»

The defender speaks after a series of complaints about the irregularity in the processes of application of the first 8 thousand doses. Doctors from different health houses claim that in the list of beneficiaries, there are not only first-line health workers, but also administrative and other areas.

At the IESS Hospital in Quito, Carlos Andrade Marín, two officials – one from communication and the other who would be chief of health personnel – received the vaccine, even though they were not on the list. Both face a process for their dismissal.

Another criticism, in addition, is that the minister has prioritized a private Geriatric center in Cumbayá, where not only one relative resides, but several, according to the minister told El Comercio. Among the relatives, there is Zevallos’s mother.

Regarding this last case, the Ombudsman mentions that he «seriously worries about the discretion and privileges with which the vaccination plan would be applied, which shows a conflict of interest.»

In addition, he expresses his concern about the lack of transparency about the Vaccination Plan. But the lack of access to information is not only because of this case. The entity claims that, since September 2019:

“The Ministry of Public Health had not published this information on its institutional portal despite the fact that said situation has been repeatedly requested, which implied that the qualification of compliance with the obligations compared to the LOTAIP by the MSP is 0% over 100%”

Doctors also question the process for selecting beneficiaries. In Cuenca, for example, only 13 of the almost 70 workers in the Covid-19 patient care area of ​​the Vicente Corral Moscoso Hospital will receive the vaccine, despite the fact that 108 doses arrived at this institution.

The country received the first 8.000 doses from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The arrival of another group of vaccines is expected in February and, until March of this year, to complete the 86.000 agreed doses.

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