Caracas, February 12, 2010, (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced the appointment of Luís Reyes Reyes as new health minister on Wednesday. Reyes Reyes replaces Carlos Rotondaro, who will now head up the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security.
In a press conference on Thursday Reyes Reyes said that as health minister he aims to carry out a revamp of “70% of the hospital infrastructure throughout the country.”
He also said the health ministry will continue working to strengthen the Mission Barrio Adentro free health care program which is staffed primarily by Cuban doctors, and increase the training of Venezuelan doctors.
This year 8,940 Venezuelan community medicine students will begin work in the country’s hospitals as interns and assistants, as part of their training he said.
“We have some problems, such as a lack of specialists, we have been working since 2007 on a special training plan, we have over 2,500 doctors specialising in different areas,” he added.
Reyes Reyes also said the ministry would discuss collective contract negotiations as soon as the upcoming union elections are complete. “We will have a policy towards our staff, of improve working conditions for our doctors, nurses, dentists, staff and workers,” he said.
The appointment of Reyes follows a series of cabinet changes after the resignation last month of former vice president Ramon Carrizales and his wife, environment minister Yubiri Ortega, who said they had resigned for “strictly personal reasons.”
Last week the government also announced the appointment of Humberto Ortega Díaz, formerly the president of Venezuela’s Deposit Guarantee and Banking Protection Fund, (FOGADE), as the new minister of public banking and president of the state-owned Bank of Venezuela.
The appointment of Ortega Díaz, followed a week of conflicting media reports that former minister of public banking, Eugenio Vásquez Orellana, a former advisor and close friend of Carrizalez had also resigned due to “health problems.”
In a statement to the media, Vásquez Orellana denied the reports that he had resigned, but said that he had requested temporary leave to recover from an injury.