Quito, September 23, 2020
The Minister of Public Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos, participated as keynote speaker at the XVII International Conference “Learning in Latin America: implications for health and surveillance on COVID-19”, organized by the Network of the Americas for Disease Surveillance Crónicas (Amnet), with support from the National School of Public Health of the University of Antioquia, Colombia. The virtual talks began today and will end on September 25.
Prior to the intervention of the Ecuadorian authority, the president of the Amnet, Paula Díaz, praised the trajectory, experience and scientific credibility of the Minister of State in the epidemiological field and the training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States.
Minister Zevallos highlighted the international cooperation between sister governments, which during the COVID-19 pandemic has served a lot to control the spread of this disease. He also recognized the work led by the Amnet on issues of prevention and surveillance of chronic diseases in the region of the Americas.
In his presentation he recounted the appearance of this new disease on a world scale, its beginnings and the first countries to become infected. He recalled that on February 29, 2020, the first case “called zero” was reported in the country, imported from Europe.
He highlighted that Ecuador was one of the first countries in the region to declare a State of Emergency in March, to form the National Committee for Emergency Operations (COE) and the second to close airports and borders. In addition, to issue sanitary biosecurity measures such as the use of a mask, social distancing and hand washing.
Despite the health regulations, the country experienced two periods of transmission: local and community. The first attacked the cities of Guayaquil and Babahoyo; while the second affected Samborondón, Daule, Durán and Milagro, in the province of Guayas.
To contain this expansion of the virus that caused a high peak of deaths in the Buenos Aires city, he assured that the activation and strengthening of the first level of care, hospital expansion and ICU beds, active search for cases (georeferencing), telemedicine, surveillance was essential. Active epidemiology with the follow-up of contacts, isolation and a state investment that exceeds USD 219 million.
Before concluding his intervention, he left a message of conscience to the public: “The pandemic does not stop in hospitals, but in the community,” he said.
The conference brought together authorities, doctors and teachers from countries such as Colombia, the United States, Germany, Brazil, Costa Rica, Belgium, Chile, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Another topic addressed during the conferences was the “Epidemiological situation of COVID-19 and national policies in Latin America and Africa”, in this panel the ministers of Health of Paraguay, Dr. Guillermo Sequera; from Argentina, Dr. Analía Rearte and from Mauricio, Dr. Sudhir Kowlessur, who exchanged experiences and applied scientific and health knowledge of each nation.
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