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WHO Representative in Peru: “ICU capacity we have is limited, but can be expanded”

Ruben Mayorga, specialist from an international organization, says that clinics can mitigate the lack of beds with mechanical fans due to the advance of the new coronavirus

Given the shortage of beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) due to the advance of COVID-19, Rubén Mayorga, representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Peru, provides a solution. He maintains that the Government must have support from the private sector. The result of this could reduce the case fatality rate of the new coronavirus.

Do you think we have the sanitary capacity to face the increase in the epidemiological curve of COVID-19?

In reality, no country was prepared for the arrival of this pandemic. However, Peru has been evaluating its possibilities of installing intensive and intermediate care beds to face it. Fans from companies and sister countries have been repaired, purchased, and received.

Are you concerned that we do not have enough intensive care beds or fans like in Spain?

At the moment, no, because they can still be installed. There are a lot of beds owned by Social Security and the private sector. Private clinics would help cover this ICU demand, which will grow in the coming weeks.

I ask this question because Dr. Pilar Mazzetti has said that there will come a time when we will need ICU beds …

Yes (I know what he said), the capacity we have is limited, but it can be expanded further, this depends on the time horizon that one looks at. The important thing is that they must be increased so that the country’s health system works as one (between the public and private sectors).

Apart from this, the doctor also mentions that we will lack fans and more tests to rule out cases …

The countries of the world are in a similar situation with the lack of beds, so quarantine measures seek, to the maximum extent possible, that only seriously ill patients be hospitalized urgently.

Do you think the system would collapse if more cases were hospitalized?

Sure, as it has collapsed elsewhere. If we extend the quarantine period for more weeks, then the Health system will attend to and resolve cases by contagion. The issue is that people don’t stay in ICU forever.

On the one hand, the Government affirms that everything is under control, but, on the other, the COVID-19 Command says otherwise. Do you think that the Government’s communication policy fails?

Communications in these cases are complex, when there are several people who communicate. Ideally it is important to designate certain communicators, according to their specialty. The subject of communicating has to be clear and precise.

What should be the term of the emergency?

We have produced some documents where we indicate issues that could serve as an indicator. I would expect that these measures, in Peru, will take effect quickly, because in general they begin to have an effect on the infection curve after two weeks.

In any case, what would the WHO recommend to Peru?

Here every two weeks they are evaluating whether or not they continue with the extension of the state of emergency, that’s fine. What is being done in Peru is what should be done: use all the information about new infections, hospitalizations, people in the ICU, shelters and others, to modulate this response. We cannot say that we do the same thing that the Chinese did, because each country started at different times.

What do you think?

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