Peru dispatch: the death of the Vice President of Congress demonstrates the precariousness of Peruvians’ right to health care


Peruvian students of law from the Facultad de derecho y Ciencias Politicas at Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco report for JURIST about law-related issues in Peru and those that affect it. They are all from CIED, the student research center at UNSAA’s Faculty of Law. Its mission is to spread legal information, improve legal culture, and promote critical and reflective discussion to contribute to Peru’s development. Maria Gabriela Chavez Suclli, a UNSAAC law student and a member CIED, is a dispatcher from Cusco. She sends this dispatch from Cusco. His health declined on September 28 due to a change in vital signs resulting from a heartattack he had suffered in Punta de Bombon, in the province Islay and the department of Arequipa. At midnight on September 28, he was taken to a nearby medical facility, but there was no doctor available to deal with the emergency. He was transferred to the Manuel Torres Munoz Hospital, located in a different district of the province. It took 30 to 40 minutes for the Vice President of Congress to arrive at this hospital without vital signs. The doctors could only confirm his death. Unfortunately the Vice President of the Congress arrived there without vital signs, so the doctors of this hospital could only confirm his death.

In this regard, the Regional Health Management of Arequipa made a public statement on Facebook as follows:

“Referring to the facts, we inform you that the Punta de Bombon health facility is a level I-3 Health Center, whose opening hours are 12 hours, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm; therefore, at the time the emergency occurred (minutes before midnight) the facility was closed.”

For his part, the Health Manager of Arequipa, Walter Oporto, said this to media outlet RPP Noticias: “I regret what happened – they have had a shortage of medical personnel for years”.

Likewise, the Minister of Health, Cesar Vasquez, told TV Peru that “there has been no negligence or carelessness on the part of the health sector, because there were doctors, 4 doctors. It is only that

was an I-3 [the hospital where the Vice President was taken], and according to norms, it attended for 12 hours, and they arrived just before midnight. It was an unfortunate accident that couldn’t be changed. Thirty-four kilometers away, 40 minutes away, there was the I-4 (Mollendo Hospital where Garcia arrived without vital signs) that we had inaugurated 2 months ago and which does attend 24 hours a day”.[facility]Undoubtedly, this news has caused shock to more than one; but it is pertinent to ask ourselves if it is just bad luck to have a heart attack when the nearest health center is closed. This news shows the fragility of the Peruvian healthcare system and its lack of doctors. According to Article 7 of the Constitution of Peru, “everyone is entitled to protection of his or her health”. However, because health centers are not open 24 hours per day this right cannot be enjoyed. The Minister of Health announced that the Plan Mil would improve the first-level of care in the health sector. This plan aims to install infrastructure, equipment, and human resources at 1,000 health facilities across the country. The objective is that by 2024, at least 60% of these thousand facilities will be inaugurated.

Everyone is waiting for the fulfillment of this plan so that the situation of Peru’s health system is strengthened. The right to quality health care in a timely manner belongs to everyone.

Opinions expressed in JURIST Dispatches are solely those of our correspondents in the field and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST’s editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.