Gustavo Palacios ustavopa at
Thu Mar 6 20:41:59 EST 1997

> De: Gustavo Palacios <ustavopa at>
> A: microbio at; mycology at; inmuno at;
hiv-biol at; mol-evol at; promed at;
virology at
> Asunto: 
> Fecha: Jueves 27 de Febrero de 1997 21:10
> Buenos Aires, Argentine
> 	The National Institute of Microbiology (INM) Dr. Carlos G. Malbran (the
> microbiological reference laboratory of the Health Ministry) is suffering
> in 1997 a reduction of 37% in its budget for supplies and 13% in its
> for personnel. In December 26, 1996 as part of what is called the 2nd
> Reform of the Public Sector, government authorities fired 101
> professionals, technicians and administrative personnel from the 7
> Institutes of Health (being the INM the biggest of these 7 Institutes).
>  	Furthermore, the Health Minister has created a new bureaucratic
> called "A.N.L.I.S." (Administracion Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos
> de Salud) responsible in coordinate the functioning of these 7 National
> Institutes of Health . The Secretary of Health Programs, Dr. Victor
> Martinez says that the A.N.L.I.S. will allow solving years of
> subadministration, incoordination, and anarchy in the functioning of the
> National Health Institutes. We denounce the authorities of the Health
> Ministry with its 2100 employees and 300 million dollars of budget as the
> unique responsible of such an urging problem. Moreover, we think that the
> A.N.L.I.S. with its new 40 managerial administrative positions and its
> millionaire budget will not change anything but the pockets of its
> The solution cannot be related to new structures, budgets or positions
> to the efficient and proper functioning of the Secretaries of Health like
> the one directed by Dr. Martinez, or an efficient functioning of the 2100
> employees of the Health Ministry with its 300 million dollar budget
> directed by the Health Minister Dr. Alberto Mazza (owner of the most
> important private health system of the country). It is clear that this
> reform tends to increase the central bureaucracy  debilitating the
> scientific structure of the Health Institutes, and hence the surveillance
> of emerging infectious diseases. Deciding Public Health goals for the
> country based exclusively in short term economic yield criteria, will not
> only compromise the outcomes of the National Health Programs but will
> increase the risk for new uncontrolled epidemics in the region by
> jeopardizing International  Programs pursued by  the World Health
> Organization, Panamerican Health Organization and others. Moreover,
> different research projects being developed in the Institutes are going
> an agony that will slowly cause loosing the important "know how" the
> Institutes still have.
> 	The professional, technical, and administrative personnel of the
> Institute for Microbiology have decided in assembly last December 12,
> to protest starting an ongoing strike and a peaceful 24 hour permanence
> all the staff, other affiliated personnel and fired workers at their site
> of work.  On October 1996, we have proposed the transfer of funds
> originally destined for equipment to the personnel item of the 1997
> (less than 1 million dollars/year are needed), in order to save the know
> how patrimony of the Institute. Anyway, the budget for new equipment can
> recovered considering a Congress tax law already approved that assigns
> extra funds to a list of Hospitals and Health Institutes (including INM).
> Instead, the government has been reluctant to re-consider the political
> decision responsible of this massive lay off. In this regard, the
> of the INM has recognized that this is only a budgetary problem and is
> related with the capability of the personnel being laid off. More
> the Labor Minister has proposed to open discussions between the Health
> Minister and the leaders of the Professional Association and the Workers
> Union of the INM. He has proposed to stop the ongoing strike and
> in the Institute going back to the situation previous to December 12, and
> to stop the lay off of the personal while opening a discussions table for
> 30 days. We have agreed with the proposal hoping the get a more relaxed
> atmosphere where we can discuss and probe that these people are efficient
> and necessary for the proper functioning of the Institute, and that the
> off policy is not the best means to improve and efficientize the
> expenditures in the Health Sector. Surprisingly, the Health Minister Dr.
> Alberto Mazza, opposing the ideas of the Labor Minister has rejected the
> proposal without any other explanation. It is difficult to guess what
> of compromises Dr. Mazza already has that does not allow him to discuss
> about the future of the Health Institutes.
> 	We suspect  that the present lay off of trained technicians,
> professionals, and capable administrative personnel with specific
> in the many specialized areas the INM is involved, is not an isolated
> budgetary problem but an organized plan destined to transfer to the
> sector the control of the public health in the country. Instead, we
> the National Government has to control and pursue the  health of
> population and cannot refuse these indelegable responsibilities. In this
> regard, the previously mentioned reduction in the 1997 budget for
> and personnel is also accompanied by an increase in the budget for new
> equipment and buildings. Without capable personnel and enough supplies,
> what are we building, rebuilding and equipping laboratories for?
> 	Finally on February 18, the judge Dr. Emilia Garcia promulgated a
> favorable sentence in the trial promoted by the Professional's
> and the Cooperative Asociation of the INM, declaring ilegal the decree
> number 658/96 of the Health Ministry that is laying off the 101 workers
> the National Institutes of Health, because this decree is jeopardizing
> Public Health of Argentine population.
> 	Presently, we are pursueing open discussions with the Health Minister.
> are requesting your international support by sending faxes and e-mails to
> the house of representatives and argentine newspapers so we can press the
> Health Minister to accept the verdict and concur to the house of
> representatives for an interpelation being proposed by all the opposite
> parties. The international support obtained by our previous letter
> in different discussion lists has distubed the Health Minister Dr.
> Mazza and other member of the government. We expect to produce a 
> impact with this new one. 
> Thanking you for your time and support in advance,
> Dr. Alberto Mazza, Health Minister	FAX:	54-1-381-6075
> Dr. Elias Jassan, Justice, Minister					ejassan at
> Mr. Jorge Rodriguez, Primer Minister	FAX:   54-1-331-9658
> Dr. Carlos Saul Menem, President	FAX:	54-1-342-8618
> webmaster at	
> Dr. Carlos Ruckauf, Vice President					ruckauf at
> Dr. M. C. Freire, President APROINM, 
> Professional Association of the INM	FAX:	54-1-303-2210          
> virus at    
> LA NACION       lanacion at
> CLARIN      lectores at
> NOTICIAS   correo at
> Dra. Maria Cecilia Freire					Ruben Mosquera	
> President APROINM					Worker Union Delegate
> Professional Association of the INM			ATE - Malbran.

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