Chile’s Health Minister Resigns Following Incident Related to HIV/AIDS
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has accepted the resignation of Health Minister Maria Soledad Barria following an incident in which the government failed to notify people who tested HIV-positive, presidential spokesperson Francisco Vidal said on Tuesday, the AP/Boston Globe reports. Earlier this month, a television station reported that officials at a hospital in the city of Iquique did not notify people who had tested HIV-positive. Two of the HIV-positive people have died, according to the AP/Globe (AP/Boston Globe, 10/28).
"I am quitting so that we can set aside political accusations that seek to sling mud at a (health) system, which is good," Barria said, adding, "Our nation's institutions cannot be a target for those who seek to make political capital and want to force a government defeat." Before resigning, Barria removed the head of medicine, the supervising nurse and the head of the blood bank at the hospital while an investigation into possible negligence is conducted (Jara, Reuters, 10/28). Bachelet appointed Deputy Health Minister Jeanette Vega in Barria's place, according to BBC News. Bachelet's administration has "faced growing public opposition in recent months and lost ground to right wing parties in local elections held last week," BBC News reports (BBC News, 10/29).