Sunday, September 27, 2020

Become part of our community

captcha 

Health & Insurance. 29

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by September 17 2020 0

With the Antioquia departmental government on September 16 reporting a cumulative total of 99,632 cases of Covid-19, including 2,124 total deaths and an average of more than 1,000 new cases daily -- mainly in Medellin and Valle de Aburra -- Antioquia today (September 17) will surpass the 100,000-cases marker.

However, there’s startling good news on the prevention front: a new study by the prestigious, peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine shows that populated areas employing face-mask mandates are drastically reducing Covid-19 outbreaks -- and not only helping to prevent spread of the disease, but also helping to protect the very people wearing the masks.

Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz cited the new study in a September 16 nationally televised address updating the Covid-19 situation here.

The New England Journal of Medicine study (see: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2026913) found that people wearing face masks and mingling with asymptomatic persons infected with Covid-19 can ingest relatively small amounts of airborne Covid-19 virus particles.

Unlike the dangerous uptake of relatively large amounts of virus particles – mainly occurring in groups of people not wearing masks and not socially distancing – the uptake of small amounts of Covid-19 droplets through a mask can actually generate beneficial immunity against Covid-19, the study shows.

“This explains a lot the situation of countries in Asia, which have a low rate of contagion despite being very open [to industry, commerce and travel], and this is what we hope will happen in Colombia,” Minister Ruiz said.

Thanks to widespread adoption of face-mask-wearing here in Colombia, Covid-19 cases are “in a phase of decline in most cities, impacted by reductions in Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, with an indicator of 190 deaths reported daily,” according to latest Ministry statistics.

Similarly, “occupation of Intensive Care Units [ICUs] has also been decreasing, at a little slower rate, but [still] an effective reduction. The most recent data show 2,233 Covid-19 patients were in ICUs, an indicator that has been achieved on average over the last four to six weeks,” according to the Ministry.

Key Excerpts from Journal of Medicine Study

Below we reproduce key findings of the latest New England Journal of Medicine study, published September 6, 2020:

“Universal facial masking seemed to be a possible way to prevent transmission [of Covid-19] from asymptomatic infected people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) therefore recommended on April 3 that the public wear cloth face coverings in areas with high rates of community transmission — a recommendation that has been unevenly followed across the United States.

“Past evidence related to other respiratory viruses indicates that facial masking can also protect the wearer from becoming infected, by blocking viral particles from entering the nose and mouth.

“Epidemiologic investigations conducted around the world — especially in Asian countries that became accustomed to population-wide masking during the 2003 SARS pandemic — have suggested that there is a strong relationship between public masking and pandemic control.

“Recent data from Boston demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 infections decreased among health care workers after universal masking was implemented in municipal hospitals in late March.

“SARS-CoV-2 has the protean ability to cause myriad clinical manifestations, ranging from a complete lack of symptoms to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death. Recent virologic, epidemiologic, and ecologic data have led to the hypothesis that facial masking may also reduce the severity of disease among people who do become infected.

“This possibility is consistent with a long-standing theory of viral pathogenesis, which holds that the severity of disease is proportionate to the viral inoculum received.

“Since 1938, researchers have explored, primarily in animal models, the concept of the lethal dose of a virus — or the dose at which 50% of exposed hosts die (LD50). With viral infections in which host immune responses play a predominant role in viral pathogenesis, such as SARS-CoV-2, high doses of viral inoculum can overwhelm and dysregulate innate immune defenses, increasing the severity of disease.

“Indeed, down-regulating immunopathology is one mechanism by which dexamethasone improves outcomes in severe Covid-19 infection. As proof of concept of viral inocula influencing disease manifestations, higher doses of administered virus led to more severe manifestations of Covid-19 in a Syrian hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“If the viral inoculum matters in determining the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, an additional hypothesized reason for wearing facial masks would be to reduce the viral inoculum to which the wearer is exposed and the subsequent clinical impact of the disease.

“Since masks can filter out some virus-containing droplets (with filtering capacity determined by mask type), masking might reduce the inoculum that an exposed person inhales. If this theory bears out, [then] population-wide masking, with any type of mask that increases acceptability and adherence, might contribute to increasing the proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections that are asymptomatic.

“The typical rate of asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 was estimated to be 40% by the CDC in mid-July, but asymptomatic infection rates are reported to be higher than 80% in settings with universal facial masking, which provides observational evidence for this hypothesis.

“Countries that have adopted population-wide masking have fared better in terms of rates of severe Covid-related illnesses and death, which, in environments with limited testing, suggests a shift from symptomatic to asymptomatic infections.

“Another experiment in the Syrian hamster model simulated surgical masking of the animals and showed that with simulated masking, hamsters were less likely to get infected, and if they did get infected, they either were asymptomatic or had milder symptoms than unmasked hamsters.

“The most obvious way to spare society the devastating effects of Covid-19 is to promote measures to reduce both transmission and severity of illness.

“But SARS-CoV-2 is highly transmissible, cannot be contained by syndromic-based surveillance alone, and is proving difficult to eradicate, even in regions that implemented strict initial control measures. Efforts to increase testing and containment in the United States have been ongoing and variably successful, owing in part to the recent increase in demand for testing.

“The hopes for vaccines are pinned not just on infection prevention: most vaccine trials include a secondary outcome of decreasing the severity of illness, since increasing the proportion of cases in which disease is mild or asymptomatic would be a public health victory.

“Universal masking seems to reduce the rate of new infections; we hypothesize that by reducing the viral inoculum, it would also increase the proportion of infected people who remain asymptomatic,” the study concludes.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by August 25 2020 0

Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced August 24 that 60,000 volunteers here will participate in a test next month of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by U.S.-based health-care giant Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary.

“With this [Janssen] company we have been working for more than a month in conversations about the possibility of conducting phase-3 clinical studies in Colombia, which is the last stage with which to verify whether a vaccine can be effective,” Ruiz said.

Janssen “has already shortlisted a significant number of research centers in Colombia which will be carrying out this study,” according to the Health Ministry.

“The clinical study will be carried out with a single dose in up to 60,000 healthy volunteers between 18 and 60 years old, and will be conducted by local research centers that will be in charge of convening the participants,” the Ministry added.

The trial aims to determine “the feasibility and efficacy of this vaccine,” according to Ruiz.

“We continue to work with other pharmaceutical companies, in accordance with the instructions of the President [Ivan Duque], with the support of the Foreign Ministry and with the support of other ministries, to have clarity and to be able to continue effectively in defining possibilities for the country of access to the vaccine,” he added.

The Colombian clinical study will begin “once the provisional data are available from the phase-1 and phase-2 clinical studies, which are underway in the United States and Belgium,” he said.

A confidentiality agreement has already been signed for access to the vaccine. “Additionally, the Ministry has been conducting other conversations with other pharmaceutical companies privately,” he said.

"Scientific data analysis was used for this decision to plan where these studies should take place, and the final selection of countries was determined in close collaboration with local governments and health authorities.

"The current prevalence of the disease, the demographics of the population and the requirements of regulatory authorities were taken into account to ensure that the study can be carried out properly and provide relevant data to inform about its potential use of emergency," the Ministry added.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by July 28 2020 0

Antioquia Acting Governor Fernando Suarez announced August 4 via his Twitter account that he has now recovered from Covid-19 infection and released from hospital.

Last week, the governor had suffered a "decrease in respiratory capacity as a result of the contagion with Covid and was preventively admitted to general hospitalization,” according to a press bulletin from the Antioquia departmental government.

However, more than 14 days have passed since the initial infection, and having overcome all prior symptoms, doctors have now declared Suarez "Covid-free," he said.

Earlier, Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero had announced July 28 that following a July 24 initial test, a follow-up test confirmed that he also was infected by Covid-19 – just one week after Antioquia Governor Luis Fernando Suarez was hit by the virus. Then, on August 9, Mayor Quintero announced that another follow-up test confirmed that he no longer is infected and so he has returned to a normal work schedule.

Medellin Gets Extra Covid-19 Physician Support

On a related front, Mayor Quintero announced July 27 that Medellin just won extra physician support to confront a continuing surge of Covid-19 cases, following a special reunion with officials of Colombia’s principal medical trade associations.

The Colombian Society and the Antioquia Society of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, the Colombian Association of Critical Medicine and Intensive Care, the Colombian Society of Emergency and Emergency Specialists, and the Colombian Association of Internal Medicine all made “commitments that will allow providing complete health care to patients who require it in the following stages of the pandemic,” according to the Mayor.

Under the new arrangement, local hospitals just committed to adapting an additional 95 ICU beds, in addition to recent capacity expansions.

What’s more, each ICU physician that previously was responsible for overseeing 12 to 13 patients “will have a support team of anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, chief nurses, general surgeons, among others, to achieve care of between 20 and 40 patients” per ICU specialist.

The new agreement heads-off a political gaffe by the Mayor when last week he proposed inviting hundreds of Cuban doctors to come to Medellin to help address the Covid-19 surge – a proposal publicly backed by left-wing demagogue Senator Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla trained by the Cuban Communist government.

Problem: Colombia hasn’t verified the qualifications of any Cuban “doctors” for expertise in treating Covid-19 patients, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced.

What’s more, previous investigations have revealed that the Cuban government takes 60% of the salaries paid to its “volunteer” doctors sent overseas -- principally to prop up the near-bankrupt Communist dictatorship. In addition, at least one Cuban "doctor" posted overseas has been discovered spying on military installations.

Colombian medical associations had criticized the Mayor’s proposal because the Mayor hadn’t first consulted with Colombian medical associations on alternative ways to boost Covid-19 response capacity -- using existing Colombian physicians and support personnel.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by July 12 2020 0

The Medellin-based “InnspiraMED” consortium producing relatively low-cost ventilators for critical Covid-19 victims got a big boost July 11 when Colombia President Ivan Duque came to Medellin to see for himself these in-development technologies.

According to “InnspiraMed” project coordinator Ruta N, “President Duque received information on the equipment delivery process -- taking place in the coming days -- according to the distribution schedule developed by the InnspiraMED initiative, with the support of the national government.

“The delivery of the first InnspiraMED ventilators began some days ago in different clinics and hospitals in the country, so that the institutions that have received them can use the equipment -- if required -- under the [legal cover] of ‘compassionate use,’” according to Ruta N.

The “compassionate use” exception follows “guidelines of the External Circular 031 of May 27, 2020 issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, which indicates that this type of equipment can be used in particular conditions within the [Covid-19] emergency in the country as long as the patient or their responsible relative gives authorization,” according to Ruta N, Medellin’s high-technology incubator organization.

InnspiraMED is an “interdisciplinary and collaborative exercise” coordinated by Ruta N and funded by Medellin-born, bottled-beverages manufacturing giant Postobón.

The collaboration includes University of Antioquia, Sampedro Medical Industries and EIA University, featuring “engineers, intensive-care specialists and pulmonologists,” as well as manufacturing specialist Haceb (appliance maker) and motorcycle assembler Auteco Mobility, Ruta N added.

President Duque’s July 11 visit to Medellín not only included educational presentations on the InnspiraMED ventilators, but also included delivery of the first 50 of 187 fully commercial, Invima-certified ventilators that the national government procured from international suppliers for Medellin and Antioquia.

Crucial Situation for Banana, Coffee Harvests

During the visit, Antioquia Governor Luis Fernando Suárez urged the President to provide special support “to address the critical situation of the Urabá banana region and the upcoming coffee harvest in the Southwest” of the department.

The Governor added that his government -- together with the mayors of the banana-growing municipalities of Chigorodó, Carepa, Apartadó and Turbo -- filed a letter with the Ministry of the Interior asking for a special quarantine.

“We do not want to get to the stage where we have to stop, for example, the banana industry, due to the effects of the pandemic,” Governor Suárez said.

In addition, “we are going to have between 40,000 and 50,000 people who are going to arrive [in Antioquia] in the next 15 or 20 days” to work in the semi-annual coffee harvest. “If at the time of the coffee harvest Antioquia faces a collapse [in capacity] in ICUs, we do not want to look at that scenario,” he added.

“That is why it is very important at this time that [the national government] help us with the necessary ventilators to install in the next few days in Antioquia. We have the goal of having, in August,  909 ICU beds, to avoid having people die waiting for an ICU bed,” he said.

As of July 11, Colombia’s Health Ministry had recorded a cumulative national  total of 145,362 Covid-19 cases since monitoring began five months ago. Over that period, Colombia has recorded 5,119 deaths and 61,186 recoveries.

Bogota leads with 47,524 cases, followed by Atlantico (32,635); Cali/Valle del Cauca (14,207); Bolivar (11,913); Antioquia (8,744); Nariño (4,457); Cundinamarca (4,052); Sucre (2,419); Amazonas (2,411); Magdalena (2,785); Choco (2,177); Meta (1,548); Tolima (1,435); and Santander (1,261), according to the Ministry.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by July 10 2020 0

Acting Antioquia Governor Luis Fernando Suárez Vélez on July 9 issued an “orange alert” as growing Covid-19 cases have now grabbed 50% of intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in Antioquia.

Following the alert, Antioquia Health Secretary Lina María Bustamante Sánchez ordered a department-wide restriction on non-emergency surgeries or dental work in order to ensure more spare ICU capacity.

“Non-urgent surgeries and outpatient procedures will be canceled in order to free more beds of intensive care units,” Bustamante said.

“Obviously, there will be [ICU bed] occupation due to trauma or due to the complication of other pathologies. For this reason, we want to reduce surgeries that are not necessary. We need to free health services, avoid cross-contamination and start to free-up human resources to attend patients diagnosed with Covid-19,” she added.

As a result, as of July 9, new restrictions on health services include “services related to oral health care; outpatient surgeries and non-urgent procedures; [and] external consultations in promotion and prevention procedures and other outpatient services,” according to the order.

“To reduce the risk of contagion in the Department, these measures must be accompanied by actions of individual social responsibility such as reducing levels of mobility, avoiding family gatherings, promoting telework, permanent use of masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing,” the order adds.

“We are going to have more cases -- and the system may collapse, so we are taking action today,” Bustamante said. While spare ICU bed capacity still exists here, “occupancy is going to double,” she warned.

“We are having a high number of infections. With the pilot program [of independent workers traveling on the Medellin Metro system now getting Covid-19 tests] we have realized that there is free circulation in the Department and we cannot lose control if health services were to collapse,” Bustamente concluded.

To date, Antioquia accounts for 11% of the total tests for Covid-19 infections in Colombia, according to the national Health Ministry.

On July 9, the Ministry reported 578 new cases of Covid-19 in Antioquia. Since tracking began five months ago, Antioquia cumulatively accounts for 7,825 cases, of which 4,802 are active and 2,954 recovered.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by July 01 2020 0

Antioquia Acting Governor Luis Fernando Suárez announced June 30 that another 130 intensive care unit (ICU) beds will debut in Antioquia by July 11 to handle a potential future surge of critical Covid-19 victims.

The latest expansion is part of a plan to have at least 909 ICU beds available over the coming weeks, with a peak demand seen possibly emerging at end-July or early-August, he said.

While Medellin specifically and Antioquia generally currently have spare ICU capacity for critical Covid-19 cases, “we must say that the days to come are very difficult because the pandemic is in full swing and every day we have a greater number of infected people, and every day human lives are lost,” Suárez warned.

Today, about half of the Covid-19 patients in Medellin ICU’s aren’t from Antioquia, but rather from neighboring Choco department, Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero noted. Likewise, available ICU’s throughout Antioquia “are for Colombians” and not just for local people, Suárez added.

While 42% of ICU beds are now occupied in Antioquia, “with the opening of these new ICUs that percentage will drop,” Suárez explained.

“Our initial inventory of ICU beds was 480, of which 240 were left exclusively for Covid patients, and this morning [June 30], 64 of them were in use,” he added.

While Antioquia has suffered 25 fatalities from Covid-19 so far this year, “the numbers will continue to increase,” Suárez warned. As a result, aside from boosting ICU capacity, “everyone should take the best decision to protect oneself adequately, by washing hands, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distance,” he said.

Meanwhile, as of June 30, Colombia’s Health Ministry had recorded a nationwide cumulative total of 97,946 cases of Covid-19 since tracking started five months ago.

Bogota continues to have the most cases at 30,017, followed by Atlantico (23,360); Cali/Valle del Cauca (9,974 ); Bolivar (9,116); Antioquia (4,442); Nariño (3,443); Cundinamarca (2,709); Amazonas (2,299); Choco (1,544); Sucre (1,255); and Meta (1,250), according to the Health Ministry.

While Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez has continued to criticize Colombia President Ivan Duque for allegedly insufficient deliveries of more ventilators for future Covid-19 critical cases, ironically it's Mayor Lopez that has been the slowest among all big-city Colombian mayors to seek out and buy ventilators on their own account -- beyond what the national government is already providing.

For example: Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz pointed out in a nationally televised broadcast on June 29 that Cali/Valle del Cauca mayors and health officials have recently purchased 300 ventilators in addition to the ventilators provided by the federal government. Cundinamarca mayors likewise bought another 152 ventilators, while Medellin and Antioquia bought 130 and Córdoba 107. Yet over the same time, Bogotá bought only 73 ventilators on its own account.

What’s more -- contradicting the constant complaints from Bogota Mayor Lopez -- the Colombian government on June 30 just delivered another 305 ventilators to Bogota -- a month ahead of schedule. So, as a result, Bogota now has 430 of the 722 ventilators that the national government has committed to giving to Bogotá between now and August, Health Minister Ruiz pointed out. What's more, Bogota is getting far more ventilators from the federal government than any other city in Colombia.

In addition, if Bogota suffers an exceptionally big surge in critical Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks, then the Health Ministry will accelerate delivery of even more ventilators to Bogota, Ministry Ruiz added.

Thanks to this new surge of ventilator deliveries -- and promises of more to come -- Mayor Lopez announced July 1 that she has decided to withdraw her previous demand that President Duque should authorize Bogota to reimpose in July the extreme quarantine measures earlier imposed nationwide in March and April.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by June 12 2020 0

The Medellin Mayor’s Office announced June 11 that 350 health professionals are now being trained on how to use new, relatively low-cost respirators developed by the ‘InnspiraMED” initiative for Covid-19 victims.

“This training takes place prior to the delivery of low-cost mechanical respirators developed by the InnspiraMED initiative, which is articulated by [Medellin technology incubator] Ruta N and financed by [bottled beverages giant] Postobón,” according to the Mayor’s Office.

“About 350 health professionals in Colombia including general practitioners, internists, anesthesiologists, emergency physicians and respiratory therapists participate in this course.

“The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Antioquia, in coordination with the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia and SENA through their simulation laboratories are part of this training process,” according to the Mayor's press bulletin.

The training includes “correct use of personal protection elements, technical skills for advanced airway management and use of ventilators, as well as the development of clinical cases for problem-solving and decision-making in patient management,” according to the bulletin.

“Under a clinical simulation model, 150 health professionals from the Aburrá Valley [metro Medellin] are trained in-person, while another 200 professionals from 25 municipalities and capitals of the country such as Leticia (Amazonas), Tumaco (Nariño), Plato (Magdalena), Chiriguaná ( Cesar) and Lérida (Tolima), among others, will do so virtually.

“By means of an anatomical model that behaves in the same way that a patient would under certain circumstances, the training will allow medical simulations to be carried out in which the assistants will delve into the management of patients with respiratory distress caused by Covid-19."

“The production of low-cost mechanical ventilators is one of the main tools that the country has to face the crisis caused by Covid-19,” added Gabriel Sánchez, manager of the InnspiraMED initiative.

Invima in ‘Extraordinary Session’ for Ventilator Approvals

Meanwhile, Invima -- Colombia’s national medical-device approval agency – announced June 11 that a special commission in charge of Covid-19 ventilator evaluations is now in “permanent extraordinary session until the initiatives of prototype respirators meet all requirements.”

“After evaluating development of novel Covid-19 respiratory devices from June 4 to June 9, 2020, the specialized commission on medical devices and in-vitro diagnostic reagents of the Review Committee declares itself in a permanent, virtual extraordinary session until the requirements on the research protocols of the ‘InnspiraMED’ and ‘Unisabana Herons’ projects are rectified,” according to Invima.

The decision is based upon the "importance of these medical devices in the current health emergency and the need to supply their evaluation with rigorous technical-scientific protocols,” according to Invima.

“The approval of research protocols of the projects by the specialized review commission is necessary to start the clinical research phase with human beings. Herein lies the importance of making this evaluation quickly, but with all the sanitary rigor, so as to mitigate any risk in their use.

“Thanks to the permanent monitoring by the specialized commission, it has been verified that the projects present significant progress, within the framework established by international norms for manufacturing these medical devices.”

However, the novel ventilators still must go through further evaluations -- in part to ensure that Colombia’s “EPS” health insurance networks indeed will approve their use and then reimburse the clinics and hospitals that would employ such technologies, Invima added.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by May 21 2020 0

Medellin-based insurance and health-network provider Seguros Sura announced May 21 that it’s expanding a novel home-care testing-and-recovery program for Covid-19 patients.

“The company is a pioneer in this model that already operates in Antioquia, and from next week in Barranquilla, Cali and Bogotá, and then in other cities in the country,” according to Sura.

The scheme “will operate through the ‘Salud en Casa’ Sura home care program and also with other allied medical services of this type,” according to the company.

“The model has a great educational, self-management and interdisciplinary accompaniment component including [services from] professionals in general medicine, nursing, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, infectology, nutrition, respiratory therapy and psychology.

“It includes periodic measurements of blood oxygen saturation levels, postural correction and respiratory therapy. With this, Sura wants to intervene directly in the reduction of two fundamental indicators for the control of the pandemic: mortality and hospital stays, especially in intensive care units (ICU),” according to the company.

“Educating people will allow us to empower them and make them participate in the management of their health and that of their family group,” added Sura EPS general manager Gabriel Mesa Nicholls. “For this we rely on technological advances to intervene early in populations that are symptomatic and require attention. Germany, for example, with a similar model, has achieved mortality levels 50% below the world average,” Mesa explained.

Home-care implementation of the scheme “begins with the delivery of a kit for positive or suspected patients with risk factors for Covid-19, consisting of a pulse oximeter, thermometer and an education plan with very precise and simple instructions for constant monitoring of [blood oxygen] saturation levels and temperature; as well as a guide to postures that patients with symptoms should adopt,” according to the company.

“Based on the data that users will permanently provide from the measurements,via WhatsApp, face-to-face or virtual accompaniments by general medicine doctors and specialists in internal medicine, [subsequent treatment schedules] will be programmed for pediatrics, gynecology, infectology, nutrition or psychology, according to the particular needs of each patient,” according to the company.

“This model benefits the affiliates and policyholders of EPS Sura, Complementary Plan, ARL Sura and Health Policies, and began in Antioquia on May 18.

“It will gradually be extended to the other cities where Seguros Sura Colombia has a presence, through the ‘Salud en Casa’ home-care model or through agreements with other home health service providers.”

Seguros Sura Colombia also processes 600 samples daily (25,000 tests to date) to detect possible Covid-19 infections -- either from patients driving to Sura locations or else at home. The company also is racking-up 9,000 related home-health services daily through virtual care and telecare services, according to the company.

Published in Health & Insurance. Written by May 21 2020 0

Antioquia Governor Aníbal Gaviria Correa on May 20 hailed leadership by the “LivingLab-Telemedicina” patient-contact-and-testing center here in the continuing struggle to detect, contain and overcome Coronavirus.

“LivingLab-Telemedicine is developing as one of the greatest successes in Antioquia in confronting the Coronavirus contingency,” Governor Gaviria said following a personal visit to the lab.

“This, in a way, is a hospital not only for the present but also for the future. Here we have the functions of promotion and prevention, but also, especially, everything related to telehealth and telemedicine, which has been absolutely key to containment of Covid-19,” he added.

To date, the lab and its 200 health professionals have dealt with more than 200,000 calls from Antioquian citizens worried about suspected or possible cases of contagion, along with related concerns about mental health problems arising from the pandemic. 

“One of the keys to the [relatively low rates of contagion] that Antioquia has obtained has been telemedicine and, in this initiative, the University of Antioquia, the LivingLab, other universities in the city, the EPS [health-insurance networks] and the government of Antioquia are integrated,” the Governor said.

Antioquia Health Secretary Lina María Bustamante Sánchez added that the LivingLab-Telemedicine center not only screens initial calls from concerned citizens, but also refers patients with likely contagion for follow-up testing, diagnosis and treatment services.

Page 1 of 3

About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

Contact US

logo def
Medellin Herald: Find news, information, reviews and opinion on business, events, conferences, congresses, education, real estate, investing, retiring and more.
  • COL (4) 386 06 27
  • USA (1) 305 517 76 35
  •  www.medellinherald.com 
  •  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

Medellín Photo Galery

Medellin, contrasting colors and styles by Gabriel Buitrago

MPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGnav