The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ecuador's president orders emergency fund to public health

People's Daily Online, March 13, 2007.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa declared Monday a state of emergency in the nation's health service, ordering the economy ministry to halt a bond payment and instead deliver 40 million U.S. dollars to public hospitals.

Correa's order, which covers the nation's 25 public hospitals, also required the creation of 4,500 jobs in the health service which would allow staff to work double shifts.

Correa also announced campaigns on eye surgery and surgery to repair injuries, with the help of unnamed foreign countries.

Economy Minister Raul Patino said updating the nation's public hospitals is a priority on the government agenda because they are in a disastrous shape.

Declaring a state of emergency allows Ecuador to use contingency funds to hire emergency staff without the normal measures required by law.

Correa described his ordinance as "a way of making up for lost time."

He said he was not concerned about signing the decree despite opposition criticism, adding that he intends Ecuador to have a first-class public health system which all Ecuadorians could access.

Correa recently announced a 2007 budget proposal of 9.8 million U.S. dollars that includes a 28 percent reduction in foreign debt service. He said the government needs to make good promises of paying salaries on time and allotting resources to education and health.

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