Ximena Garzón, chapter on reuniting science and government

In contrast to what happened in other countries, whose governments included the contribution of their scientists in making decisions to confront COVID-19, national researchers have complained about the authorities ignoring it.

Moreover, from the point of view of public health and epidemiological control, they criticized the official management of the disease, which they criticized for the lack of scientific support in the decisions taken.


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In this sense, the announcement by the president-elect, Guillermo Lasso, that the Minister of Health will be the university professor and scientific researcher Jimena Garzon, seems to open the doors to a reunion between the academy and the government.

This is what the scholars consulted by this newspaper also consider, although they made it clear that this would not only be the minister’s prerogative, but would be a political decision of the government.

“It is positive that the appointed minister received academic training according to her field of practice. Nevertheless, effective work for the rapprochement between the academy and the government requires conviction and mutual support, in an integrated manner, that is, from the presidency, vice presidency and all state portfolios,” says the coordinator and founder of the Ecuadorian Network of Women Scientists Patricia Castillo.

He explains that the current level of the epidemic requires knowledge of areas such as epidemiology, biomedicine, public health, psychology and social work, that is, covering the physical and mental health care of the population. Likewise, investing and managing evidence-based surveillance, regardless of the vaccination plan, allows for the necessary adjustments to be made in a timely manner.

He points out that all this requires the support of the government and its various government portfolios. “Which we will not be able to verify until they begin their duties. In any case, Minister Garzon is expected to be an ally in promoting this necessary meeting,” he reiterates.

Researcher and member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Sciences, Santiago Ron, also sees the academic image of the future minister positively. It is clear that she is academic and has the necessary experience to search for good advisors and she has a good performance at the premiership. The main thing is that he is an honest person, time will tell if the name is correct. “

Scientific publishing spokesperson Sophia Cabrera also believes the Garzon profile opens up the possibility of this reunification between the academy and the government.

But citing the cases of scientists Linda Guaman and Zemina Abarka, who were involved in a judicial process to purchase diagnostic tests in the municipality of Quito, Cabrera sees “apathy and disappointment” among academics for their cooperation with the system. “We don’t go into the public sector because it is very complex, and there are a lot of problems and sometimes it gets badly out,” he says.

However, he says there is a triad made up of the state, the academy, and the private company; And that the epidemic taught us that it must work in a coordinated and joint way.

Another health system meltdown must be avoided.

This newspaper sought the opinion of Ximena Garzón, but according to spokespersons for the CREO movement, to President-elect Guillermo Lasso, incoming officials will not make statements until they take office.

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“Immediate public health policies and interventions must be designed to avoid another collapse of the health system and a greater social and economic impact,” she said on her Twitter account in January, before the elections.

Garzon holds a PhD from the Central University of Ecuador and a PhD in Public Health from the University of South Florida. She is a professor and researcher at several universities and is the teaching coordinator at IESS’s Carlos Andrade Marín Hospital. Through his Twitter account, he publishes academic and scientific activities.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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