Guatemala, PAHO sign medicine purchasing pact

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MEXICO CITY, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Guatemala's health minister told media Thursday that the nation has signed an agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to buy medicine and vaccines against A/H1N1 flu.

The minister, Ludwig Ovalle, said that PAHO, the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), will purchase medicine and vaccines for Guatemala at a much cheaper price than the nation does it by itself.

In late November, the WHO said it would donate 1.3 million doses of vaccines against A/H1N1 flu to the nation, which has seen18 deaths from the disease. The first some 260,000 doses are set to arrive in January.

The nation is currently experiencing a wave of cold temperatures which could increase the amount of flu cases.

Earlier this month, the nation opened 58 hostels across the nation for people who might otherwise succumb to cold weather.