According to UNICEF, 165,580 children in Nicaragua live "in difficult circumstances." Of those, 107,000 "work" up to 12 hours a day in the streets selling chewing gum, "scratch and win" tickets and the like; begging; washing car windows, etc.
Since the first case of AIDS appeared in Nicaragua in 1987, 31 cases have been registered, and 27 of those people have already died. Given the characteristics of this epidemic, the minister of health calculates that there must be between 1,500 and 3,000 people with AIDS who still do not show symptoms.
Starting in mid March, all services provided in Nicaragua's public hospitals, from simple tests to major operations, will be charged on a three tier sliding scale according to the patient's salary. The new minister of health said that other considera tions will be given to unemployed patients and that the plan seeks to self finance the hospitals, which continue to suffer a prolonged and acute shortage of medicines and other supplies.
The new semester began in the country's primary and secondary schools on March 1 for nearly a million children and adolescents (23% of Nicaragua's total population). This year all of the public high schools will charge their students entrance fees, thus ending free education , even though it is guaranteed in the Constitution.