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rcampos at huemul.ffyb.uba.ar rcampos at huemul.ffyb.uba.ar
Mon Mar 3 04:24:19 EST 1997


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 budget 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 National Institutes of Health (being the INM the
 biggest of these 7 Institutes).
  Furthermore, the Health Minister has created a new bureaucratic
  structure 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 own millionaire budget will not change anything but the pockets
  of its members. The solution cannot be related to new structures,
  budgets or positions but 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 also 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 to an agony that will slowly
  cause loosing the important "know how" the Institutes still have.
 The professional, technical, and administrative personnel of the
 National Institute for Microbiology have decided in assembly last
 December 12, 1996 to protest starting an ongoing strike and a
 peaceful 24 hour permanence of 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 budget (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
 be 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 Director of the INM has recognized that this
 is only a budgetary problem and is not related with the capability of
 the personnel being laid off. More recently, 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 permanence 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 lay 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 kind 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 expertise in the many specialized areas the
 INM is involved, is not an isolated budgetary problem but an
 organized plan destined to transfer to the private sector the control
 of the public health in the country. Instead, we believe the National
 Government has to control and pursue the  health of Argentine
 population and cannot refuse these indelegable responsibilities. In
 this regard, the previously mentioned reduction in the 1997 budget
 for supplies 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 Association and the Co=F6perative Asociation of the INM,
 declaring ilegal the decree number 658/96 of the Health Ministry that
 is laying off the 101 workers of the National Institutes of Health,
 because this decree is jeopardizing the Public Health of Argentine
 population. Presently, we are pursueing open discussions with the
 Health Minister. We 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 located in
 different discussion lists has distubed the Health Minister Dr.
 Alberto Mazza and other member of the government. We expect to
 produce a  greatest impact with this new one. 

Thanking you for your time and support in advance,

  Dr. Alberto Mazza, Health Minister		54-1-381-6075
  Mr. Jorge Rodriguez, Primer Minister	54-1-331-9658
  Dr. Carlos Saul Menem, President		54-1-342-8618
  Dr. M. C. Freire, President APROINM, 
  Professional Association of the INM		54-1-303-221

And to the following e-mail adress:

olredaccion at lanacion.com.ar              Diario LA NACION
lectores at clarin.com                            Diario CLARIN
ruckauf at senado.gov.ar
yoma at senado.gov.ar
vaca at senado.gov.ar
usandiza at senado.gov.ar
ulloa at senado.gov.ar
storani at senado.gov.ar
solana at senado.gov.ar
r_feris at senado.gov.ar
pardo at senado.gov.ar
oyarzun at senado.gov.ar
miranda at senado.gov.ar
meneghi at senado.gov.ar
melgare at senado.gov.ar
maya at senado.gov.ar
maglieti at senado.gov.ar
m_karthy at senado.gov.ar
leon at senado.gov.ar
alopez at senado.gov.ar
humada at senado.gov.ar
gioja at senado.gov.ar
galvan at senado.gov.ar
delasota at senado.gov.ar
cantare at senado.gov.ar
cafiero at senado.gov.ar
cabana at senado.gov.ar
berhonga at senado.gov.ar
baum at senado.gov.ar
avelin at senado.gov.ar
alasino at senado.gov.ar
a_lanari at senado.gov.ar

Dr. Maria Cecilia Freire				Rub=E9n Mosquera
President						Internal Committee
Public Sector Workers Union

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