Liberating our mobile computing


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Last week I got the PineTime, a free/libre smartwatch. In the past months, I’ve been working on MyGNUHealth and porting it to the PinePhone.

Why doing so? Because running free/libre operating systems and having control of the applications on your mobile phones and wearables is the right thing to do.

Yesterday, I told myself: “This is the day to move away from Android and take control over my phone”. And I made the switch. Now I am using a PinePhone on Manjaro running KDE plasma mobile. I have also switched my smartwatch to the PineTime.

The mobile phone and smartwatch were the last pieces of hardware and software to liberate. All my computing is now libre. No proprietary operating systems, no closed-source applications. Not on my laptop, not in my desktop, not on my phone.

Facing and overcoming the social pressure

At the moment I ditched Android, I felt an immense sense of relief and happiness. It took me back 30 years ago, early FreeBSD and GNU/Linux times, being in control of every component of my computer.

We can not put our daily life activities, electronic transactions and data in the hands of the corporations. Android phones shipped today are full of “bloatware” and closed-source applications. We can safely call most of those applications spyware.

The PinePhone is a libre computer, with a phone. All the applications are Libre Software. I have SSH, most of the cool KDE plasma applications I enjoy in the desktop, I can have them now in my pocket. Again, most importantly, I am free.

Of course, freedom comes with a price. The price to face social and corporate pressure. For instance, somebody asked me yesterday how to deal with banking without the app. My answer was, I never used an app for banking. Running a proprietary financial application is shooting at the heart of your privacy. If your bank does not let you do your transactions from any standard web browser, then change your bank. Quick digression… the financial system and the big technological corporations are desperately trying to get rid of good all coins and bills. This is yet another attack on our privacy. Nobody needs to know when, where and what I buy.

A brighter future depends on us

Some people might argue that this technology might not be ready for prime time, yet. I would say that I am ok with it, and the more we join, the more feedback we provide, and the better end result we’ll get.

The Pine64 project is mainly a community-oriented ecosystem. Its hardware, operating system and applications are from the community and for the community. I am developing MyGNUHealth Personal Health Record to be run on KDE Plasma, both for desktop and for the PinePhone and other Libre mobile devices. It is my commitment with freedom, privacy and universal healthcare to deliver health informatics in Libre, privacy focused platforms that anyone can adopt.

MyGNUHealth Personal Health Record running on the Desktop and on the PinePhone. The PineTime smartwatch as the next companion for MyGNUHealth. All these components are privacy focused, Free/Libre Software and hardware.

It depends on you to be prisoner of the corporation and massive surveillance systems, or to be in full control of your programming, health information and life. It takes commitment to achieve it… some components might be too bleeding edge or the camera might not have the highest resolutions and you won’t have the Whatsapp “app” (removing that application would actually be a blessing). It’s a very small price to pay for freedom and privacy. It’s a very small price to pay for the advancement of our society.

InfiniTime firmware upgrade using Siglo.

It’s been many years since I’ve been in the look out for a truly libre phone. After many projects that succumbed, the PinePhone is the first one that has gained momentum. Please support the PinePhone project. Support KDE plasma mobile. Support Arch, Manjaro, openSUSE, FreeBSD or your favorite Libre operating system. Support those who make Libre convergent applications that can be run on mobile devices, like Kirigami. Support InfiniTime and any free/libre firmware for smartwatches, as well as their companions as Siglo or Amazfish.

The future of Libre mobile computing is now, more than ever, in your hands.

Happy and healthy hacking.

Quo vadis, Free Software?


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In his escape from Rome, Peter encounters Jesus and asks him, Jesus, Quo vadis? (“where are you going?“) Jesus responded, “Back to Rome, to be crucified again”. Peter follows him, ends up being captured and crucified upside down.

(Painting: Domine quo vadis? (1602) by Annibale Carracci. Source Wikimedia)

Two thousand years have passed, yet those who defy the status quo are still being prosecuted and crucified, one way or another.

Too much hypocrisy and lack of empathy

The prosecution and public lynching that Richard Stallman, creator of the Free Software movement, has suffered in the last year and half is unparalleled. Many of those who used to praise his work and figure, are now taking the first row in the lapidation of the heretic.

Richard Stallman might not be the best in social interactions, but neither am I. Richard is not politically correct either. Some things he has said can be controversial and even disturbing. But that does not make him a criminal or a monster. In more than one occasion, I’ve noticed that I’ve misunderstood his words after talking to him or re-reading the article.

We all are imperfect beings, with imperfect genes, living in an imperfect society. We come from different cultural, social, educational and generational backgrounds. I find this enriching and fascinating. Yet, there is still too much hypocrisy and lack of empathy in our society.

Let me share a short personal story. In 2018 I was invited to give a talk at LibrePlanet. I flew from Spain to Boston, and I was excited to meet with the colleagues from the community, so I signed up to the “Welcome dinner”. To my surprise, I got this response by email upon arrival:

"The Welcome Dinner is for all women, gender queer, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people interested in free software. If you don't identify as such, we kindly request that you don't attend the dinner this year."

So I checked whether all the list elements, looking for latino, hispanic, vegan, …. but no luck… after a long haul flight, I found myself excluded from the event. Where is the diversity, where is the inclusion, where is the empathy? Ironically, I found out that the very same person who sent me the email excluding me from the dinner is now part of the debunking campaign against RMS.

Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone

Who are we to judge? On what moral grounds are they judging Richard Stallman?

Discrimination on the basis of species is as terrible as any other form of discrimination (sex, race, age..). Those who eat meat are complicit of the daily holocaust of millions of sentient beings. Those who drink milk are complicit of the systematic rape, slavery and murder of millions of persons who have the same right to live in freedom and dignity as we humans. In addition, non-vegans are responsible in the climate change emergency, pandemics and other terrible side effects of factory farming.

I am convinced that many of those who are judging RMS are meat eaters and consume dairy products. So, before they accuse him for something that he might have said, they should take a look at themselves and their ethical / moral status, for what they are actually doing. I also think that many of them would not have joined this evil campaign if they knew how much pain and suffering it has caused to Richard.

Divide and conquer. The attempt to eradicate the Free Software movement

The existing plutocracy controls de media and distorts reality. The panem et circenses formula works great in creating a numb, docile society. Their mass control devices and programs activate the dopaminergic reward pathways on the person brain, creating a short but intense feeling of instant gratification through selfies, filters, likes. You willingly provide them your personal information. They know where you are, they know what you do. They will also make a lot of money selling your information to others who will refine the mind control process. This becomes a closed loop.

They have gradually eradicated critical reasoning. Activism and social justice are now forbidden terms. “Free Software” is now “Open Source”. To be a cool programmer and a good citizen, you have to share your code “Where the world builds Software“. It’s a proprietary platform, but this fact would not make a difference to you anymore at this point. You have become part of them, and your principles about the initial Free Software movement have faded away.

After creating the “idyllic community”, it was time for them to find a common enemy. The witch-hunt started by debunking the creator of the Free Software movement and then anyone that would defy the status quo. Vilifying RMS on the news and social media was an easy task for them, provided that they control most of the media and that they already counted with an “army” ready to burn heretics. The army members did the dirty job for them, proudly posting on their timelines how they contributed to the ruthless public mobbing, lynching and lapidation of someone who most of them, didn’t even know. The rest is history.

Time to hit the reset button

No doubt that the Free Software Foundation and the movement of free software and free culture is badly injured. The enemies of social justice and freedom in our society have tried to eliminate the Free Software Foundation and divide the community.

Yet, we are strong and resilient. Let’s come together, reunite and return even stronger. Society is facing very challenging moments, and we need the Libre Software movement to be a reference of evolution, diversity, respect and inclusion. The enemies of freedom and equity want us divided, so they gain control. We can not let that happen again.

Let us all take some time for self-reflection, to get rid of any resentment. Let us find room for forgiveness to our fellow members of the Free Software movement and hit the reset button. Let us put aside the confrontation among us that will take us nowhere.

Let us also support financially the Libre Software community. Most Libre Software projects and organizations depend on the financial contributions, and they should be able to grow with the support of their individual members alone. That will bring independence from the corporation.

Our mission as individuals and members of the Libre Software movement goes way beyond programming. The code that we write in C or Python must also be the source of an optimistic message to this and upcoming generations around the world. A genuine and honest message of freedom, equity, compassion, empathy and solidarity.

Happy and healthy hacking!

GNUHealthCon 2020. Social Medicine in a time of pandemic


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It was not easy… we’re so used to celebrate the GNU Health Conference (GHCon) and the International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies (IWEEE) in a physical location, that changing to a virtual conference was challenging. At the end of the day, we are about Social Medicine, and social interaction is a key part of it.

The pandemic has changed many things, including the way we interact. So we decided to work on a Big Blue Button instance, and switch to virtual hugs for this year. Surprisingly, it work out very well. We had colleagues from Gabon, Brazil, Japan, Austria, United States, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Chile, Belgium, Jamaica, England, Greece and Switzerland. We didn’t have any serious issues with the connectivity, and all the live presentations went fine. Time zone difference among countries was a bit challenging, specially to our friends from Asia, but they made it!

Social Medicine, health literacy and patient activation

The non-technical talks covered key aspects in Social Medicine, Citizens, health literacy, patient activation and Global digital health records, given by Dr. Richard Fitton, Steve and Oliver, two of his patients. Armand Mpassy talked about the challenges about GNU Health for IT illiterate Case study: Patient workflow at the outpatient service.

Individual privacy and crypto

On privacy and cryptography subjects, we had talks from Isabela Bagueros from Tor, Surviving the surveillance pandemic, Ricardo Morte Ferrer on A proposal for the implementation of a Whistleblower Channel in GNU Health, and Florian Dold on GNU Taler: A payment system by the GNU Project.

openSUSE Leap, packaging GNU Health and Orthanc

On operating systems, Doug Demaio from openSUSE talked about The big Change for openSUSE Leap 15.3, the new features on the upcoming release of this great distribution, bringing sources of SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) closer to the community distribution. I can not stress enough the importance of getting professional support on your GNU Health installations. Health informatics should not be taken lightly, and is key to have a solid implementation of the underlying operating system components, to get the highest levels of of security, availability and performance in GNU Health.

Axel Braun, board member openSUSE and core team member of GNU Health, focused on packaging GNU Health and the openSUSE Open Build Service (OBS). The presentation Hidden Gems – the easy way to GNU Health, put the stress on making GNU Health installation even easier, in a self-contained environment.

Sébastien Jogdone, leader of the Orthanc project, presented Using WebAssembly to render medical images, an open standard that allows to run C/C++ code on a web browser. This is great news since GNU Health integrates with Orthanc PACS server.

Qt and KDE projects in the spotlight

If we think about innovation in computing, we think about Qt and KDE. GNU Health integrates this bleeding edge technology in MyGNUHealth, the GNU Health Personal Health Record for desktop and mobile devices that uses Qt and Kirigami frameworks.

Aleix Pol, president of KDE e.V., presented Delivering Software like KDE, putting emphasis on delivering code that would be valid for many different platforms, specially mobile devices.

Cristián Maureira-Fredes, leader of the Qt for Python project, in his presentation Qt for Python: past, present, and future!, talked about the history and the upcoming developments in the project, such as PySide6, the latest Python package and development environment for Qt6. MyGNUHealth is a PySide application, so we’re very happy to have Cristián and Aleix on the team!

Dimitris Kardarakos, presented a key concept on modern applications, that is convergence, the property of the application to adapt to different platforms and geometries. His talk Desktop/mobile convergent applications with Kirigami explained how this framework KDE framework, that implements the KDE Human Interface Guidelines, helps the developers create convergent, consistent applications from the same codebase. MyGNUHealth is an example of a convergent application, to be used both in the desktop as in a mobile device.

I did go into details on MyGNUHealth design in my talk, MyGNUHealth The GNU Health Personal Health Record (PHR).

Argentina leading Public Health implementations with Libre Software

Many years of methodical and intense hard work in the areas of health informatics and public health have paid off. The team lead by Dr. Fernando Sassetti, head of the Public Health department of the National University of Entre Rios, has become a reference in the world of public health, Libre Software in the public administration, and implementations of GNU Health in many primary care centers and public hospitals in Argentina.

The National Scientific and Technological Promotion Bureau (Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica), chose Dr. Sassetti project based on GNU Health as the system for management of epidemics in municipalities. Health professionals were trained in GNU Health epidemiological surveillance system, as well as the contact tracing functionality.

Ingrid Spessotti and Fiorella de la Lama on their talk Outpatient follow-up and home care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, explained some of the functionality and benefits of these GNU Health packages, for instance:

  • Real-time observatory and epidemiological surveillance
  • Automatic notification of notifiable disease to the National Ministry of Health
  • Reporting on cases and contacts
  • Calls registry, monitoring of signs and symptoms.
  • Risk factors on each individual (eg, chronic diseases, socioeonomic status…)
  • Geolocalization of suspected or confirmed cases
  • Clinical management and followup for both inpatient and outpatient cases.

Carli Scotta and Mario Puntin, presented the Design, development and implementation of a Dentistry module for GNU Health: experience at the Humberto D’Angelo Primary Care Center in Argentina, a package that will be the base for the upcoming dentistry functionality in GNU Health 3.8 series.

The GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2020

GNU Health is a social project. In every GHCon, we recognize the people and organizations that work to deliver dignity to those who need it most around the world.

Our biggest congratulations to Prof. Angela Davis, Proactiva Open Arms and Diamante Municipality!

As you can see, we still can do great conferences in the context of the pandemic. I hope to see you and hug you in person at GHCon2021.

In the meantime, stay safe!

For this and past editions of GNUHealthCon, you can visit

GNU Health pioneers the adoption of WHO ICD-11 and ICHI standards


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GNU Health and the World Health Organization

The GNU Health project believes in coding standards, specially in those that can be widely used. In 2011, the United Nations University (UNU) adopted the GNU Health Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) component, in part because of its strong focus in social medicine and environmental health, but also because it complied with most of the World Health Organization standards.

Using WHO standards is key for global health. The GNU Health federation provides timely and accurate health information to citizens and health professionals globally. We are able to generate this large, distributed networks of information thanks to protocols and standards, that permit the aggregation of data from thousands and even millions of nodes.

GNU Health at the United Nations – International Institute for Global Health

GNU Health HMIS provides many WHO standards and UN models, such as:

  • ICD-10, International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision
  • ICD-9, Volume 3, for coding procedures
  • ICF, International Classification of Functioning, Disability & Health
  • ICPM, International Classification of Procedures in Medicine (to be replaced by ICHI)
  • WHO List of Essential Medicines
  • Pediatric growth charts
  • Vaccination schedules
  • MDG / SDG (Millennium Development Goals / Sustainable Development Goals, such as the MDG6 to tackle HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis

Health professionals, institutions and governments around the world can trust GNU Health as the WHO compliant Hospital Management and Health information system.

GNU Health training for WHO Africa Regional Officers

Throughout these years, GNU Health and WHO have been cooperating in areas of Universal Health access, Mother and Child health or campaigns to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

It has been nearly a decade of work, at the technical, functional and community level. The training of WHO regional officials, as well as to the health professionals have had a quite positive impact. Proper coding using WHO standards in GNU Health, both for health conditions and procedures / interventions result in good quality, epidemiological reports, better management of the internal resources and improved health promotion and disease prevention campaigns.

First newborn registration in the GNU Health implementation at Cameroon district hospital

Moving forward: ICD-11 and ICHI

The current International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD10) has been of great help to standardize coding health conditions, but it has its limitations and it definitely needs a review in both the coding system itself as well as the need of specific health areas.

To overcome these limitations, the World Health Organization started ICD-11, the latest revision that includes many more health conditions, the much needed areas of mental health and sexual health, as well as a great method to combine conditions, called cluster coding or postcordination. Cluster coding allows the combination of two terms in for the condition. This concept brings much more flexibility and contextualization.

In terms of health procedures, the International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI) is estimated to be released by the end of this month. ICHI will replace the International Classification of Procedures in Medicine (ICPM).

The International Classification of Health Interventions will become the standard coding system for reporting and analyzing health procedures. In words from WHO, “the classification provides Member States, service providers, managers, and researchers with a common tool for reporting and analyzing health interventions for statistical, quality and reimbursement purposes.“.

ICHI delivers a coding method based on three axes: Target, Action and Means. It is valid for all context of health (primary care, surgical, dental, nursing, community health). It contains over 7000 interventions that can deliver at an individual or population basis.

GNU Health leads the integration of WHO References

Depending on the individual and environment, a particular pathology can have different clinical representations of the disease. Diabetes mellitus (DM) can be controlled or can have devastating consequences for the individual. Most of the times the socioeconomic determinants play a key role on the epidemiology, clinical outcomes and disease progression, and assessing health as a whole – from the molecular basis to the socioeconomic determinants – is one of the areas where GNU Health excels.

GNU Health provides the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, that has been key in many context, to assess the impact of the environment in many patients. This was studied in the GNU Health implementation in Laos (see my post “GNU Health: Helping Laos Heal from UXO physical and emotional trauma.“).

WHO diagram on relations among reference classifications

GNU Health is ICD-11 ready, and waiting for you

The upcoming release 3.8 for the GNU Health HMIS component includes de ICD-11 Morbidity and Mortality Statistics (MMS) linearization, as well as the existing ICF package. We are waiting for WHO to release the stable version of ICHI.

The ICD-11 will officially come into effect on 1 January 2022, so we have a year to train and get used to it. The GNU Health HMIS community server can be your perfect training companion. It’s online 24×7 and you can test the new codings in this server.

At this point, you can already start testing the ICD-11 functionality, and how it interacts with the other references as the ICF. Of course, you can become part of the GNU Health team, either as an end-user of as a member of our development and research team, and provide feedback and improvements!

These new additions will be of great help to achieve our common mission towards Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals. At the end of the day, GNU Health is a social project that uses really cool Libre technology. I am positive that the immense majority of our health related problems, both at individual and population level, can be solved by means of Social Medicine.

As Dr. Rudolf Virchow said, Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine at a larger scale.

GNU Health and Khadas to deliver Artificial Intelligence in Medicine


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It is official: GNU Solidario, the Spanish NGO behind GNU Health (GH) and Khadas Technologies have signed the “GNU Health Alliance of Academic and Research Institutions”, to research and deliver Artificial Intelligence to the world of medicine.

This is very exciting. GNU Health covers genomics, medical genetics, Dx imaging and social medicine, areas where definitely we can use the power of AI for better diagnostics, personalized treatments, decision support, disease prevention and health promotion.

The GNU Health embedded project using Khadas for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

What is truly revolutionary is that we will be using affordable single board computers, like the Khadas VIM3, where they could work alone or in the context of the GNU Health Federation, doing massive virtual parallel computing.

Citizens, health professionals and institutions don’t have to spend millions to access the latest in technology. In GNU Health, this has always been our philosophy. Health is must be remain a universal human right, and that is what we do in GNU Health. We deliver state-of-the-art technology all over the world with Libre Software. No hidden lines of code, no hidden agenda.

One of Khadas devices, the VIM3 includes a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that will be the heart of the AI engine.

GNU Health HMIS with genetics package running on a Khadas VIM3 Pro

We can use our GH Federation model which gathers massive information of protein natural variants, and combine it with the latest tools in Artificial Intelligence. We will be giving a giant leap, unveiling the real clinical significance of many mutations that today remain a mystery about how they would affect our health. In GNU Health we are determine to build this critical bridge between the person, the clinician and the researcher.

Another area that we’ll work on is Dx imaging. Training Khadas devices to differentiate many types of lesions will help the pathologist or the surgeon to take real-time decisions in the operating room based on the picture GNU Health camera takes and the diagnostic that the GH embedded return about the specimen.

In the upcoming GNU Health Conference – GHCon2020– , there will be sessions about this project, so we invite anyone to register at the conference, that this year will be online due to the COVID pandemics. Register at GHCon2020

GHCon2020, the annual GNU Health conference

About GNU Solidario: GNU Solidario is a non-for-profit organization that works globally, focused on Social Medicine and health informatics (using Libre Software).

GNU Solidario is the organization behind GNU Health, the award
winning Libre Health and Hospital Information System, deployed in many
health and research institutions around the globe.

About Khadas: Khadas develops superior quality, high performance single board computers for makers, developers, and tinkerers, that come with open source, professional technical support, and a global community for issue discussion & idea sharing.

GNU Health: Helping Laos Heal from UXO physical and emotional trauma.


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Luis Falcon with the Lao CMR staff in charge at the 2 year anniversary of the implementation
GNU Health implementation anniversary at Laos Center of Medical Rehabilitation

Laos is one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world. During the period from 1964-1973, over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped by B-52 aircrafts across the 2/3 of the country during the “Secret War”. This nine-year period bombing caused thousands of deaths and a unprecedented human displacement that exceeded a hundred thousand civilians from the poorest areas of the country.

The tragic legacy of that period remains today. Thirty percent (30%) of those bombs remains active (Unexploded Ordnances – UXOs – ), causing over 300 victims every year until 2008, and now down to 50 / year. Nearly 60% of the UXOs accidents result in death, and 40% of the victims are children[1].

If the explosion does not kill the person, it causes severe traumatic injuries resulting in the amputation of limbs in many of the victims. Physical and emotional trauma that takes many years to heal. In addition, many UXO victims suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious condition that can be devastating for the victim and their families[2].

But there is hope. The wonderful people from Laos are resilient, and they are willing to cope and move forward. I have been in Laos several times in the last few years, in the context of GNU Health implementations both in Mahosot Hospital and the Center for Medical Rehabilitation – CMR – .

The Center for Medical Rehabilitation (CMR), located in Vientiane, is a specialized institution that helps people with disabilities and victims survivors of UXOs. The CMR, formerly known as the National Rehabilitation Center initially provided prosthetic limbs for victims of war. Today they have extended the services to provide services to children with disabilities across the country. Some of the services include medical and community based rehabilitation, special education for the deaf and the blind and vocational school for people with disabilities.

At the moment I had the meeting with the hospital directors, I knew that we had to focus both in short term surgery as well as in the long term psychological, physiotherapy and occupational therapy that would allow the person to be fully functional in the society. Again, I was facing a project in need of Social Medicine.

We trained a local multidisciplinary team of nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, social workers, computer scientists, psychologists, administrative personnel, pharmacists and accountants.

CMR nurses. The heart of the institution

It was during that period that I created the package functioning and disability.

General patient information and Functioning & Disability tab. Red boxes on these two sections denote UXO related information

Some of the GNU Health functional modules that CMR decided to use included surgery, socio-economics, ICD-10, nursing, physical therapy, stock, accounting, lifestyle, reporting, health services and diagnostic imaging, among others. In addition to those, we included the “functioning and disability” package.

The GNU Health “Functioning and Disability” package integrates the ideas of WHO Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. This functionality complements the ICD-10 classification of diseases, with the concept of functionality. For example, after a person has been diagnosed with diabetes, we must go beyond the biology and molecular bases of the disease, and evaluate how diabetes impacts of on her daily activities and integration in the society and environment.

GNU Health contextualizes the health condition in the particular individual, key for personalized medicine. In the UXOs example, the related ICD10 codes are visible from the main chart:

  • S88 : Traumatic amputation of lower limb
  • F43.1: Post-traumatic stress disorder

This diagnostic information is relevant and key for epidemiology and statistics, but if we want to practice medicine, we must take into account the social aspect of these conditions, and how they affect the person in her particular environment.

The GNU Health Functioning and disability assessment has two sections. The first section is a summary of impairments related to the Cognitive, Visual, Hearing, Speech, Hand, Mobility and Activities and Participation .

The second section is a detailed assessment of Body functions, Body structures, Activities and Participation and Environmental factors and barriers. Each of these groups has its own set of qualifiers and components that will provide the health professionals where to put the focus to the time and the context of that person, as well as to evaluate the progression of the conditions.

We can now study, with a multi-disciplinary team, how the body structure and body functioning impairments relate to the person capacities and engagements in social activities; daily household tasks; using the current public transportation system or the level of access to Labor and employment services.

This is my concept of medicine, the assessment of the bio, psycho, social determinants of health and disease. Medicine is, first and foremost, a social science, and GNU Health is first and foremost, a social project.

Example of GNU Health person functioning and disability assessment

Celebrating the success of cooperation: During a two-year period of using GNU Health, they have provided over 67,000 medical services, automated their finances, prescriptions, stock management, medical appointments and evaluations, diagnostic imaging, and the demographics tracking for the thousands of patients they assist.

CMR Cope team helping people in Lao rural areas

Local capacity building: CMR trained its own local group of professionals who customize and maintain GNU Health, in their own Lao language. This creates a local and ethical business model, very important for the long-term sustainability of the project.

A well-deserved award. The work that CMR has been doing in Laos for the rehabilitation of their people has been magnificent. Their multidisciplinary approach to trauma, from the acute care and surgery, to the physical therapy and the work in the field is an example for many of us. CMR has helped thousands of people every year healing from the UXO physical and emotional scars, moving forward and being able to get re-inserted in society, and we are so proud to have been part of it.

A delegation of the Laos Ministry of Health presented at GNU Health Con 2016 the implementation in the Lao Center for Medical Rehabilitation – CMR – and in Mahosot hospital. We are so proud that they are part of the GNU Health community.

CMR received the GNU Health Social Medicine Award in 2016 for best Institution.

  1. – Somnuk Vorasarn, Chansaly Phommavong, Khonephet Sely. GNU Health in Mahosot Hospital – GNU Health Con 2016
  2. A cross-sectional community study of post-traumatic stress disorder and social support in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Reflections towards a Humane and effective Medical Research


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Science can not advance at the cost of the pain and agony of sentient beings. If saving a human life means killing a nonhuman being, then we need to move away from that model and towards a humane and effective medical research.

I am honored to be among the 77 scientists who joined forces with Animal Free Research UK[1], Safer Medicines Trust[2] and the Alliance for Human Relevant Science[3] to call for a change in regulation to enable medical research without the use of animals for all diseases. The open letter [4], a call to international regulatory bodies, was released on this Tuesday (July 14th, 2020) and it was published in The Guardian the same day.

An animal is someone, not something. Human and nonhuman animals are sentient beings. They are capable feel joy and to suffer physical and emotional pain. Can we then call a nonhuman animal a “person” ? I’d say so. A person is someone, not something. A person has the right to live in freedom and dignity. Not doing so will generate discrimination based on species, that is, speciesism. Discrimination wrongfully empowers morally ( and in many occasions, legally) the oppressor. Discrimination based on sex, IQ, race or species varies on the victim. The mechanism of slavery lies on tearing apart the dignity and freedom of someone, turning them into property, a something. Examples of modern slavery are sex trafficking, child labor and factory farming.

Philosopher Mary Midgley wrote a very nice essay on this subject Persons and Non-persons[5]. It is important to reflect about the rationale of the judge.

Wrong educational model: It is appalling how junior medicine school students are “trained” to accept animal suffering as part of being a doctor or a scientist. Undergraduate students “learn” about acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) with live animals, cutting them open, ligating the artery and then observing the evolution (slow and painful death). The physical and emotional pain that these sentient beings undergo can not be described. Being exposed to such horrendous actions won’t make the students better doctors. On the contrary. There is plenty of literature about AMI on humans that will result on a more relevant learning experience for the future health professional.

The macabre LD50: The term “Lethal Dose 50” is is used extensively in the the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In toxicology, it represents the dose of a substance needed to kill 50% of the exposed population. Dogs, mice, rats, and many other animals are given the drug by different routes (orally, intravenously, intraperitoneal…). The survivors are too sick and end up being “euthanized”.

The cruel failure of science: Sadly, all that that suffering has been in vain. According to the Animals in Science Policy Institute, emerging evidence shows that 95% of drugs testing in animals fail at human clinical trial, and close to 100% Alzheimer’s drugs tested in animals fail when tested in humans[6]

A daily holocaust: During WWII, Hitler’s doctors performed the most heinous experiments on humans, in the name of science. One of the doctors stood out from the rest. His name was Josef Mengele. He used children (had predilection for twins) . Mengele was called the angel of death. In addition to be in charged of sending the prisoners to the gas chamber, he conducted hundreds of experiments in children, killing them afterwards. One night, he killed 14 children by injecting chloroform into their hearts[7]. I am bringing this topic because I want people to remember and never forger the atrocities done by the Nazis. In addition, it’s important to note that his sadistic methods don’t differ much from nonhuman animal experimentation carried out every single day around the world. I am convinced that animals conceive human beings as their Angels of death.

It is ironic that many would have trouble falling asleep thinking about the atrocities committed by Mengele, yet normalize the killing of millions of sentient beings that anticipate torture and suffering equally as those innocent gypsy children in Auschwitz concentration camp. All animals, human and non-human, shiver, cry, vomit and lose control of sphincters in response to emotional and physical stress. The question remains, why our governments perpetuate this holocaust.

Different species, different physiology: Different species have different physiology. That is part of the reason some clinical trials that may show promising results in non-human animals are a failure when tested in humans.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been shown that the expression of ACE2 receptors is different among rats and humans. In the open letter “A shift in focus is needed to tackle COVID-19” written this May by Animal Defenders International[8] and co-signed by scientists and academics to the World Health Organization and other regulatory entities, they wrote:

[…] mice are one of the most commonly used species in drug and vaccine research. In addition to major differences between human and mouse respiratory systems, species differences specific to research for SARS-COV-2 include that mice do not naturally have the same receptors the virus uses to infect human cells. Researchers are now attempting to “humanize” mice to ensure they contract the virus. Such fundamental differences risk impeding the production of vaccines and other treatments to help prevent and reduce the symptoms of COVID-19 in people.

Humane and effective alternatives: We now know that animal experimentation is both cruel and ineffective as a research strategy. Traditional biomedical has failed to provide solutions for human related conditions and is now anachronistic. As a physician and computer scientist, I see the enormous benefit of applying computer models, artificial intelligence or computer vision as part of the new generation, state-of-the-art technology applied to biomedical research. Thanks to the GNU Health Federation[10], we are capable of building large, distributed networks that interconnect patients, physicians and researches around the globe to provide solutions in key areas of social medicine, cancer, bioinformatics and precision medicine.

Organizations such us Animal Free Research UK are leading medical research in the areas of diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions by using cell cultures or amazing technologies like “organ-on-a-chip“[11].

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, from the technological to the human aspects. These actions reflect how scientific communities, NGOs and citizens are coming together towards a humane, effective and human relevant medical research.


  1. Animal Free Research UK
  2. Safer Medicines Trust .
  3. Alliance for Human Relevant Science .
  4. Animal Free Research UK. “A call to accelerate human focussed medical research” .
  5. Mary Midgley – “Persons and non-persons”
  6. Animals in Science Policy Institute. “Animals in testing” . –
  7. Lifton – “What made this man? Mengele” –
  8. Animal Defenders International –
  9. AD International – “A shift in focus is needed to tackle COVID-19” .-
  10. GNU Health –
  11. Animal Free Research UK .- “Organ-on-a-chip” –

GNU Health in Tanzania. An implementation case.


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The following note comes from Mike and Ulf, two Swedish colleagues that implemented GNU Health in Tanzania. The specific institution is Nkinga Hospital. Mike and Ulf have been part of the GH commuity for years. I met personally Mike at the GNUHealthCon 2019 in Brussels. Their work is phenomenal.

The title of his document was “How to Implement GNU Health in Tanzania in 10 days”. We’re very thankful to them for sharing this very inspiring story, and hope is a lesson to all of us!


It all started with that we had studied free software and networks at universities in our spare time for a few years. When we had finished the studies we decided to do something with the knowledge we got. We got in contact with Nkinga hospital in Tanzania and we decided to help them to build the IT-infrastructure.
In September 2011, we went to Tanzania to build a computer network to be able and communicate internal and share documents in the hospital. We set up Wi-Fi points, installed servers and educated technicians.
In August 2014, we traveled to Nkinga to extend the network and set up a PACS server and computers for reviewing x-ray pictures.

Our goal with this project was to implement GNU Health at the hospital in short time.
The system consists of one server, one spare server, a backup server and about 30 workstations spread out at the hospital. The project also included training of the hospital’s users and to educate technicians to manage the system and network with our remote support.

undefinedWe planned to introduce the system in 10 days and expected to start using some basic modules. When the basic modules worked, the plan was to continue implementing more modules . In order to manage to deploy the system at Nkinga in the short time, a medicine manager and an economist from the hospital visited us in Östersund for two weeks to prepare the implementation.

When the two personnel went back to the hospital they arranged training sessions for different personnel groups and was a cornerstone for the implementation of the project.
During the first day of using GNU Health, it was discovered where it did not work as it should. For example, it became a bottleneck in the front desk where patients ensign themselves. In the first three days, in parallel with GNU Health, the hospital used paper. In the evening, the data on paper were
fed into the system.
Over the next few days, we moved around the hospital and instructed staff how to use the system. Not everyone was used to computer so it took some time. Everyone in the hospital has been very helpful and we worked up to 16 hours every day.

In the first few days after we got home, the hospital contacted us daily about issues that arose and together we solved them. For every week that passed, the problems decreased. After 4 weeks of running GNU Health everything run smoothly. We have weekly telephone meeting to discuss
various issues. At the hospital they have worked very intensively with the training of staff and to optimize the flow. The understanding of the benefits of the hospital system is increasing all the time. The preparation of implementing GNU Health took us approximate one year.

Examples of work done during ten days:

  • Expanded computer network
  • Installed 25 new computers
  • Assembled and installed 3 servers
  • Training of users
  • Training of Technicians
  • Installed a number of routers and switches
  • During 10 days we (seven people) worked at total 820 hours .

For the implementation of GNU Health, we have purchased hardware for about 8000 EUR sponsored by an aid organization. We shipped 25 used computers and network equipment that we received from different companies.
After 2 months of using GNU Health, 2083 patients was enrolled in the system, 1873 appointments performed, 80 users worked in the system, 1600 invoices print, etc.

GNU Health has been running since November 2017 with only minor disturbance.

Pictures from Mike & Ulf blog (

Tackling the Beast: Using GNU Health to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic



The world is facing one of the the biggest health, economic and social crisis. A minuscule, 50-nanometer in diameter structure is putting the most powerful world economies on their knees, and hundred of thousands are tragically succumbing to COVID-19.

This article is an invitation to governments to embrace GNU Health and Libre Software for the sake of their public healthcare system in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those of you who already use GNU Health, take this article as some sort of guideline to optimize your implementation and day-by-day usage. Even though it focuses on COVID-19 disease, most topics will apply to any GNU Health implementation.

People before patients: Demographics and health infrastructure

Information is power. Good quality and timely data is crucial to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. GNU Health has been designed on Social medicine. That is, instead of dealing directly with patients, GNU Health works first on the main pillars of a society. As a result, the government will have better tools for health promotion and disease prevention. The government will be better prepared to fight this pandemic and future outbreaks.

Domiciliary Units : DU are houses, apartments and buildings where people live. GNU Health DU model stores the infrastructure, sanitary conditions as well as the people who is living at anytime at that dwelling, in realtime. This feature is key to track possible contacts of an infected individual. Moreover, the infrastructure, surface and number of rooms provides great information in terms of possible overcrowding conditions that would facilitate the spreading of the disease. Each domiciliary unit can be georeferenced, thanks to GNU Health link OpenStreetMap.



Domiciliary Unit in GNU Health: conditions, members and its geolocation linked to OSM


Operational Areas: GNU Health can divide a country in administrative areas and sectors (provinces, cities, neighborhoods,..) composed by domiciliary units and health institutions. GNU health can do real-time epidemiological reporting based on these sectors. Understanding this concept is key for COVID-19 contention or mitigation programs, since it would be able to identify early outbreaks in new areas, or focus on sections of relevant incidence. Operational areas and sectors allow us to find correlations from many indicators (ethnicity, sex, age, income, education level, population density) in the COVID-19 incidence, prevalence, susceptibility of infection or disease progression.

Health institutions: GNU Health can keep track and manage health institutions across the country. Human resources, financial and stock management, pharmacies and laboratories. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can do reporting on occupation levels of those institutions, number of beds, operating rooms, devices such as ventilators, number of health professionals and their specialties, the incidence, prevalence and mortality per institution, average time of hospitalization, and many other studies. Of course, you need to have the institutions set up.


GNU Health institution model

Health professionals : In crises such the COVID-19, GNU Health allows the Ministry of health to know each health professional, their specialties, the health institution where they work and where are they located (operational sectors). Time is precious and keeping updated information of the professionals will allow rapid assignment.

Person Demographics: Age, address and domiciliary units, work and insurance. Make sure this information is stored. Age is a factor on this epidemics, as COVID-19 is particularly pernicious with the elderly population. The profession of the person is also important. For instance, health professionals are highest infected group. Demographics will also help to identify people without health coverage, unemployed, homeless and other underprivileged groups that are particularly vulnerable.


Person contacts: For each person, GNU Health keeps record of their contacts and their relations (work, classmates, friends, classmates). In the scenario of a positive case for COVID-19, this information would allow to call the patient close contacts. It is key to have this information updated. Remember to fill in all possible contact mechanisms for each person (email, mobile phone, Telegram, …). Tracking and getting in touch with the person close contacts is vital.

Person Universal ID: This is one key feature of GNU Health, specially in the context of the GNU Health Federation. The person Unique ID (Federation Account) would be valid not only for the region or country, but across the world. The clinical information could be available and updated in any health institution across the country or region, immediately available for the rest.


The World Health Organization (WHO) keeps saying “test,test,test” the population. The earlier we test the population, the better we can control the spread of the disease in the community. Special population groups, such as health professionals, the elderly or those with existing health conditions should have priority.

There are rapid, point-of-care tests available in many countries that can deliver the results in less than 30 minutes. Some of them around 10 minutes. In GNU Health, you can use the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies lab test type.

GNU Health workstations can be deployed at the mobile test stations, and send the information in real-time to the Ministry of Health, with the result, signed and validated.

If the person has tested positive for IgM antibodies, it means she is in the early stage of the infection. IgG antibodies build up later in the infection and are part of the “immunological memory”. If IgM is positive, you must update the health conditions, include the following ICD10 code and activate the COVID-19 protocol for patient isolation and contact tracking.

The ICD10 code for COVID-19 is U07.1

U07.1 : 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease COVID-19 : In GNU Health, the U07.1 condition (COVID-19) belongs to the infectious, respiratory and notifiable disease groups.

Indicate the lab test type and order in the related condition.


GNU Health patient screen sample, including critical information related to COVID-19 disease

Clinical Management

If the patient is tested positive but is asymptomatic or mild clinical, the patient might be sent home for home care. Please verify at that moment if the Domiciliary Unit meets the requirements (ventilation, number of rooms, number of people in the house, … ).

If the person has tested positive and/or presents signs to warrant her hospitalization, admit her to the health facility and assign her a bed in the appropriate ward. A new inpatient record will be created, with the corresponding in charge physician, treatment and nutrition plan. When admitting a patient suffering from COVID-19 is important to enter its code (U07.1 : 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease COVID-19) as the reason of admission and discharge. This will be very valuable for statistics.

Medical History: The patient medical history is ready in GNU Health, from all the patient evaluations in the different health institutions. In the context of the COVID-19, this information is key, especially for people with chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The current and past medication is also stored in GNU Health, as well as surgeries.

Roundings: For each rounding, enter the vital signs, the medication provided,  assess the environment and the “Six P’s” and record all the procedures done in the rounding itself.  In addition, if the patient is on Intensive Care Unit (“ICU” tab), record relevant information on nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary and digestive systems, as well as any signs of infection.

The vital signs can be taken in different contexts. They can be assessed in an outpatient evaluation, inpatient nurse rounding or ICU setting.

Intensive Care Unit: If the disease progression is life threatening, the patient will be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. GNU Health has an Intensive Care Unit module. After recording the main information of the rounding, move to the “ICU” tab for a detailed assessment of the patient in this unit. Scores such as Glasgow Coma Scale and Apache II are available.   For each ICU rounding the health professional should record both the basic information as well as a detailed RoS. GNU Health allows to enter ECG information and the copy of the ECG strip per rounding, if needed.

A percentage of hospitalized patients by COVID-19 will need mechanical ventilation. GNU Health records the type and duration of the intubation, per patient on each institution. This information is very valuable for both clinical management as well as for statistics. Most countries are facing today is the shortage of mechanical ventilators. GNU Health permits to know the incidence of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, as well as the discharge rate.

Medical Imaging and Laboratory tests

Radiological findings of many COVID-19 patients are compatible with atypical pneumonia. Streaky opacities, specially at the bases are common findings. Many people with mild disease won’t show any radiological signs.

GNU Health provides different types of Dx tests. Images and observations are recorded in the system and linked to the patient history. In addition to the standard GNU health radiology package, the Intensive Care module also permits to add Xray images on each rounding to evaluate and compare the disease progression.

For large images and studies, such MRI or CT scans, we highly recommend the GNU Health Orthanc package. Orthanc is a fantastic Libre DICOM server and GNU Health can interoperate with it, thanks to the magic of the Free Software philosophy.


GNU Health radiology. Findings compatible with atypical pneumonia in a COVID-19 patient

In addition to the standard lab test types (CBC, renal and liver function …..), there are markers that can predict COVID-19 progression and severity. For instance, high ferritin levels, low platelet number and a high ESR are common in patients who develop severe disease and the cytokine storm syndrome.


GNU Health LIMS showing a Complete Blood Count sample

All the lab test results can be exported to different formats. In the context of the GNU Health Federation a new POL (Page of Life) is created and the information can be exchanged directly in JSON format. The following pictures show the same lab test report in PDF and JSON format from the GNU Health Federation message server (“Thalamus”)


In addition to the tests done in hospitalized patients, remember that GNU Health LIMS package can be used in diagnostic and population screening, as in the case of PCR and rapid tests.

Death Certificates

The death certificate is a key document, since it has legal, administrative, demographic and epidemiological significance.

The following is an example of how we could use the GNU Health Vital Record System to generate a death certificate associated to the COVID-19 disease.


Person Death certificate related to COVID-19 disease

Digitally signing the digital certificate with the health professional and/or civil officer will make it a legal document. GNU Health uses GNUPG (GNU Privacy Guard) to digitally sign and encrypt documents.


Digital signature section of the death certificate


Although the respiratory system is the most affected in patients with COVID-19, other organs can be impacted. The ACE2 receptor (cell’s entry point for SARS-CoV-2) is expressed in other tissues in addition than lungs, such colon and heart. Not surprisingly, gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac involvement, as acute myocarditis, have been reported. Recording all findings will help to improve the management of the disease of the patient, but also to share information with colleagues from the scientific community.

Sharing the patient treatments and individual outcomes will help speed up clinical trials and response to possible therapeutic agents (eg, remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab…)


The GNU Health Federation connects thousands of nodes from health and research institutions

To be able to achieve such breakthroughs in science and in our society, we need our politicians and governments to embrace open science, open data and Libre software.

A call for Open Science, Open Data and Libre Software

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a terrible tragedy for human kind, but opens an opportunity to cooperation, to join forces and to our innate resilience.There are many gray areas and many uncertainties in the origin of the virus, disease progression and therapeutic approaches. On the other hand, the GNU Health Federation allows the scientific community to come together and tackle this beast. We can securely  share huge, anonymized amount of information from all over the world to find not only the molecular basis of the COVID-19 disease, but environmental and social factors that impact on the susceptibility and disease progression.

I am returning from Japan, where I was invited to give a lecture at Kyoto university Medical Innovation Center (MIC). It was an honor to share ideas with students and professionals from a leading institution on molecular biology and biomedicine. Although I talked about GNU Health in cancer research, my presentation focused on the importance of Libre Health informatics, open science, open data in Public Health. It was surprisingly exciting the great level of engagement of the audience in these topics.

A robust, sustainable public health infrastructure must be based in cooperation. Cooperation involves open knowledge and open science. I am convinced that true evolution comes from cooperation, and not from competition. In this sense, we as members of the scientific community should share our work, whether is a computer program source code, the discovery of a protein natural variant or the development of a new therapeutic molecule.

GNU Health uses the GPL license (General Public License), which permits downloading the program, study the source code, adapt it to your center needs and share it with the community.

Keep in mind that libre software not only provides collective freedom, but is the only way to achieve privacy in healthcare. Proprietary, non-libre programs are blackboxes that jeopardize both personal privacy and public health information. In addition to that, using proprietary software in Public Health is an obscene contradiction.

To accomplish collective freedom, every single component must be Free/Libre. That is, the operating systems (both for servers and clients) as well as the applications around. We will need to share information among colleagues around the world, so the format that we use in the corresponding files should also be open.

In the meantime, stay safe. Stay home !


La venganza del Pangolín


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El todopoderoso, arrogante ser humano ahora está asustado y  frágil.

La nueva epidemia del coronavirus covid-19, causado por el virus SARS-COV-2, es la última de una serie de zoonosis que amenaza en convertirse en una pandemia. Algunas enfermedades zoonóticas recientes causadas por coronavirus han sido el SARS (Síndrome Respiratorio Agudo Grave) o el MERS (Síndrome Respiratorio de Oriente Medio). Todas ellas tienen como origen común animales que han sido explotados por humanos.


Credit : Associated Press – AP

Parece que el brote inicial del COVID-19 tuvo su origen en el un mercado de la ciudad de Wuhan, donde animales vivos son mantenidos en condiciones deplorables. Gatos, perros, murciélagos, serpientes, ciervos, pollos, etc.. son enjaulados y observan aterrorizados como queman vivos y matan a otros animales inocentes, sabiendo que ellos tendrán la misma suerte.

Wuhan wet market -Source : Weibo

El pangolín está en peligro de extinción, víctima de la “medicina tradicional” en China y en muchos otros países de Asia. Cazadores furtivos han hecho que el pangolín sea el mayor víctima de esta atrocidad. Por supuesto, no es la única víctima de la codicia e ignorancia humana. Los tiburones también están enfrentando la extinción por sus aletas, así como los rinocerontes y elefantes que son mutilados o asesinados por sus cuernos. Un mercado tan cruel y inhumano como bárbaro en el nombre de  una falsa medicina, sin ningún tipo de evidencia científica.

Ganadería industrial, resistencia antibiótica, calentamiento global y priones

Asia no está sola cuando hablamos de crueldad animal. Europa y los Estados Unidos tienen las mayores granjas industriales, donde literalmente millones de seres sintientes son secuestrados, esclavizados y asesinados cada día.

En la industria láctea, las vacas son violadas, sus terneros son enviados al matadero pocas horas después de nacer, y se les colocan pinchos en el hocico que generan dolorosas lesiones a la madre, con el fin de evitar la lactancia.

La industria ganadera y láctea son asesinos en serie. Necesitan optimizar el crecimiento del producto, el animal, así que mientras más rápido crezca, antes son asesinadas. Para acortar el ciclo de los animales, estas industrias usan hormonas de crecimiento y antibióticos. Literalmente se emplean toneladas de antibióticos, no sólo para aumentar el peso, sino para luchar las enfermedades generadas por las condiciones inhumanas y hacinamiento en las que los animales están confinados. Esto hace que el ganado sea el mayor mercardo de antibióticos, así como la mayor fuente de resistencia antibiótica que tiene un impacto directo en la salud humana.

Irónicamente, la dieta basada en productos animales no es sólo innecesaria, sino que también es poco saludable. El consumo de productos lácteos y cárnicos están asociados a enfermedad cardiovascular y distintos tipos de cáncer. Esto es un hecho irrefutable. Por muchos años la industria ganadera y láctea han estado mostrando una falsa realidad acerca de los supuestos beneficios a la salud. El lobby ha sido tal que penetró las facultades de medicina, nutrición y la literatura científica. Ahora sabemos que ha sido todo una mentira.

En un esfuerzo para optimizar el “ciclo de producción”, las vacas, que son herbívoros, han sido alimentadas con productos de origen animal. Esta práctica anti-natural generó la encefalopatía espongiforme bovina, una enfermedad devastadora e invariablemente fatal. Muchas personas, especialmente en Europa ha sucumbido a la variante humana de la enfermedad (Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD)) después de comer la carne de animales infectados. Más de 4.5 millones de vacas fueron sacrificadas por miedo  a que fueran portadoras del prión.

Pero eso no es todo. La ganadería extensiva (“Factory farming”) es una fuente principal de calentamiento global. Según The Humane Society, la ganadería industrial es responsable del 34% de las emisiones de metano (CH4), con una capacidad veinte veces mayor de efecto invernadero que el dióxido de carbono (CO2)[1] . La tasa de deforestación del Amazonas ha alcanzado su punto más alto. Los bosques amazónicos se queman para plantar soja, y millones de litros de recursos naturales preciosos como el agua son desperdiciados para alimentar a un ganado que posteriormente será sacrificado. Tan cruel como absurdo.


“La venganza del Pangolín”, título de este artículo, representa la venganza de todas las especies que han sido explotadas por el ser humano. Es la respuesta de la Madre Naturaleza a nuestras estúpidas acciones, basadas en la codicia e ignorancia que están llevando a la especie humana a su auto-destrucción. Pareciera que una maldición ha caído sobre la humanidad como consecuencia de su nefasto comportamiento con otras especies y con la Naturaleza.

La epidemia del Covid-19 es la última respuesta de la Naturaleza al arrogante, ignorante, egoísta ser humano. Es una forma de decirnos que somos víctimas de nuestros propios actos malvados.

Todavía soy optimista, pero tenemos que actuar ya. Deberíamos empezar por ser humildes. Tenemos que arrepentirnos y pedir perdón por todo el daño y hechos execrables a otras especies. Debemos recomenzar, generando una relación empática y compasiva con ellas.

En vez de ponernos mascarillas – que no sirven de nada a personas sanas y se las quitan a las personas que realmente las necesitan – debemos tomar acciones de manera inmediata. Esa acción no pasa únicamente por pedir a la comunidad científica para que genere un antiviral o una vacuna, que llegará tarde a muchos. La medida debe ser sostenible a largo plazo.

Los gobiernos y organizaciones supranacionales como la Organización Mundial de la Salud deben poner un fin a la industria láctea y ganadera. Deben prohibir la caza, en todas sus formas, así como imponer las mayores penas a los cazadores furtivos y mercados animales, así como a los países que los fomenten.

Paralelamente, se debe promover prácticas agrícolas orgánicas sostenibles. Los gobiernos deben poner el foco en mejorar el sistema educativo donde los niños aprendan, principalmente, a ser personas humildes, compasivas y respetuosas.

Nosotros, como individuos, debemos parar de ser parte de esta industria y sociedad perversa. Podemos erradicar estos crueles sistemas económicos basados en el sufrimiento animal si dejamos de ser sus clientes. Una de las acciones más importantes que puedes hacer es cambiar a una dieta de origen vegetal. Con los hechos sobre la mesa, ya no hay excusa para no adoptarla.

“Be kind to all kind”. Hazte vegano. Por los animales, por el planeta, por tu salud.


1.- Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Agriculture.

2.- Preserving Antibiotics, Rationally . Aidan Hollis, Ziana Ahmed.- The  New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 2013 .