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Dr. Hans Kluge (WHO Europe): Biggest mistake - lack of investments in public healthcare

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Organizația Mondială a Sănătății oms who

Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of the World Health Organisation for Europe, emphasized on Tuesday that no healthcare system was ready when COVID-19 hit and that the biggest mistake was of states who didn't invest in public healthcare and didn't elaborate policies in the sector.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe will organize next month a meeting with European observers regarding policies. It will thus analyze what each country is doing in order to resume services, in order to not postpone anymore and, for that reason, to learn from one another in order to move forward in a coordinated manner. When COVID-19 hit, no healthcare system was ready. The biggest mistake - not to invest in public healthcare, although it was known that there is need in the countries that didn't formulate policies on the basis of proof, there's where problems were. But where everything was well-done and solid, those countries managed to overcome the problems better, said the WHO official in a video message sent to the tenth edition of the 2021 Aspen Healthcare Forum, event organized by the Aspen Institute in Romania, at the Palace of the Parliament and online.

He added that the continuation of health services for other patients is in view.

The price paid meant the loss of lots of lives, but the price could be higher if we don't learn. Many countries needed urgent reforms of the healthcare system. These reforms should now integrate the state of preparation and intervention in healthcare systems. Thus, all investments in the healthcare system must be reoriented. Universal access to healthcare and to health security are two sides of the same coin. Now, the lessons learnt must be put into practice, said the WHO regional director.

According to him, due to COVID-19, people with other health issue, such as mental health issues, received far less treatment.

Prof. Dr. Alexandru Rafila, Romania's representative to the WHO, emphasized that the resilience of the healthcare system needs to be built.

"We now have a somewhat complete picture of the performance of healthcare in 2020 and, obviously, after such information - and this has been valid for a long time, there's information that we have had for several months - I am thinking of one thing: the resilience of the healthcare system. The resilience of the healthcare system is something that must be built, it mustn't be declared and the building of it (...) must take into account one thing: the healthcare system in Romania doesn't work only in the interest of professionals in healthcare, of administrators in the healthcare system, it's a system which must function in the interest of patients in Romania. We are producing a lot of discussions that do not have the patient at the center of attention. (...) Unfortunately, no strategy in Romania has brought the patient to the center of the system and we are in a difficult situation," showed Alexandru Rafila, Agerpres informs.

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