“The Day After” Article “Diari El Punt” by Dr. Vergés

Artículo Diario El Punt "El Día Después" Coronavirus, Dr. Josep Vergés

“The Day After” original Article in catalan

“The day after”

At the time of writing this article we are still in the coronavirus pandemic crisis, it is already time to take all hygienic measures against contagion, and give priority to the public health problems such as supporting and protecting the health personnel or enabling new areas of care and social support, among others. I sincerely hope that the pandemic will come to an end as quickly as possible and with the least cost of lives and affected patients. The brief reflection I would like to make from a medical-sanitary point of view for the day, and in a positive light, is the following:

First, we would have to thank all the health personnel (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, auxiliaries, cleaners, psychologists, among many others) who have made a great effort from the different centers and levels of care, to attend this enormous pandemic, having very limited means, and facing health, family and social life affectations. We know our health professionals follow a vocational call, although their efforts need to be recognized by the Administration. Working conditions and the remuneration system should be rethought and adapted to the current public health demands and the 21st century challenges that the health professionals face daily. Social recognition already exists, but the Health Administration must translate it through the provision of more resources to the National Health System. Moreover, I want to recognize the great work carried out by community pharmacists who should also be supported, as well as staff in retirement homes, dependents that should be provided with the resources needed to perform their work as required.

Second, we will have to tackle all the interventions and tests that have been
postponed due to the pandemic and deal with the psychological consequences that
the lived situation will have on professionals and the general population.

Third, the public health system should be supported at the political level. We witnessed the unfairly mistreatment of our public health system in the last 20 years, with budget cuts at national and regional levels with well-known consequences. Providing the system with an economic budget that allows us to come out of the health crisis in a positive way, through a great State pact, which ensures that our system can respond to new challenges and those that will come, learning from the experience lived during the Covid Pandemic19. Cuts in our health system cannot be admitted, as we have seen in recent years and months, and have been denounced by the different scientific societies, colleges of doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical colleges.

Fourth, research should be prioritized in general and especially the one related to infectious diseases, reinforcing the infectious and epidemiological units, promoting international coordination. The GDP percentage reserved for R&D should reach the average level of the European Union countries.

Fifth, research into new therapies in general and antivirals in particular (diagnostic tests, vaccines, new antiviral molecules, protection material, among others) should be a priority. The private sector (pharmaceutical, biotechnology, etc.) should also play a key role in R&D and it needs the support of the national administrators so as not to depend on other countries, asit has happened in part in this crisis.

Sixth, the production system should be aligned with the current and future needs to avoid situations of stock breakage or lack of material.

Seventh, patients and the general population, as we saw in this health crisis, have had a key role and will have in the future. Patients are at the center of the healthcare system and should be involved in all healthcare processes. Patients’ information and their co-responsibility in their health are essential to build and maintain a good health system. The role of foundations and patient associations is essential to help this good health and to make the system sustainable. We have an obligation to defend vulnerable groups of patients such as our elders, who have worked for many years to support the health system.

Eighth, the application of knowledge must belong to the scientific world and false news or “fake news” should be detected and avoided. It would also be necessary to make a “mea culpa” from the medical-scientific field for not detecting the pandemic in time.

Ninth, we must also care for the environmental issue, we cannot continue to degrade our environment and our nature since it directly impacts the social and health environment. Urgent measures should be taken in this regard. Environmental pollution has a direct effect on the health of the population and on the increase of certain pathologies. As always, health prevention and promotion are the most cost-effective measures for preserving health. In conclusion and once the diagnosis of the situation has been made, it is mandatory that our politicians and health authorities take good note of what has happened and act forcefully, providing significant personal and financial resources, managing them appropriately to strengthen the National Health System. The public health system should be able to cope with the different crisis situations that will undoubtedly appear, as history teaches us that large or small epidemics periodically occur.

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