Photo: André Borges.
The Brazilian Union Network Unisaúde (UNISALUD) submitted to the government of President Jair Bolsonaro and other executives of health companies, a letter listing urgent and necessary changes needed to protect the people and the workers themselves against the Coronavirus, and also to avoid an imminent breakdown of the health system. The group emphasized that these measures – and the resources required to adopt them – need to be provided immediately by the federal government for the public system, and by companies for the private system.
Describing conditions that unnecessarily expose the disease to the general public, nurses, receptionists, security and administrative staff and health workers in particular, they stated that if hospital and clinic workers’ health is not protected, the virus will be spread exponentially across the country. A nurse from a hospital in the state of Rio de Janeiro highlighted the following: “We are living our worst days in our careers. We are working in most units without personal protective equipment, face masks, goggles, gowns/plastic aprons, hair covers, exposing ourselves to the virus and putting our lives at stake. Now they want to teach us how to reuse disposable masks, as if that were normal, and that is because there are not enough in our unit. We have more than 20 brothers and sisters who have been put into isolation with symptoms of covid19, and nobody in Rio de Janeiro is doing anything about it. Today we can only count on our union, if it weren’t for them who are fighting to help us, we would already be slaves to the bosses in RJ” he said.
Edison Laércio de Oliveira, president of the Federation of Health Workers of the State of São Paulo, denounced that private health companies are not providing leave to employees with a higher risk of getting the virus. “Now with MP 927, companies are going to continue to force the elderly and people with health problems to expose themselves, or they are going to suspend them from work without paying wages. Neither option works” said Edison.
The group also criticized Provisional Measure 927, claiming its cancellation, and adding urgency to providing paid leave for workers with the highest risk of infection.
Please see attached letter addressed to the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, and to executives of the largest companies in the private system in the country.