The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) approved an USD 85-million fund to build six hospitals in five cities in Nicaragua. The projects are expected to start in 2021 and will benefit up to three million people currently and in the post-pandemic period.
According to CABEI authorities, the hospitals will provide the country with 378 new intensive care beds, a new oncology clinic, and high-technology centers to isolate Covid-19 patients. In return, the Nicaraguan government will have ten years to repay the loan at an interest rate of 1.75 percent a year.
During the pandemic, many underdeveloped countries have sought credit to fight the health crisis. While being an effective short-term solution, these loans can end up hindering long-term development, as Argentinian economist Miguel Ponce told The Brazilian Report.
Covid-19 in Nicaragua
On March 2, Nicaragua began its vaccination campaign using the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Up to 3,000 people have received immunization so far. President Daniel Ortega says the second vaccination phase will start on April 6, with 335,000 doses of the Indian-made Covidshield immunizer.
Nicaragua is accused by coronavirus Independent Covid-19 watchdogs of underreporting its case and death total. Official figures say 6,582 people were infected and 176 died from the disease, which would give Nicaragua the second-lowest per capita death rate in the region.
However, Nicaragua’s Citizen Observatory says deaths surpass 3,000 and cases are above 13,200.