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Mediterranean health systems tested by Covid-19

Mediterranean health systems tested by Covid-19

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Mediterranean health systems tested by Covid-19
For the past year, the Covid-19 has taken over the world, disrupting our freedoms, economies and, of course, our health systems. The coronavirus has laid bare the failings that governments now have to redress as quickly as possible. It has become an indicator of their ability to handle a health crisis.
The Euro-Mediterranean Economists’ Association (EMEA) has joined in the political discussions of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation surrounding the Southern Mediterranean (KAS PolDiMed) by publishing a study on the resilience of health systems in six Mediterranean countries*. The report points out that, “With the healthcare sector being the epicentre of this unprecedented global pandemic, it becomes obvious that countries with already fragile healthcare service and infrastructure are the ones that have been affected the most.”
The research shows that these states were not prepared for Covid-19. With little room to manoeuvre budget-wise, plus their chronic structural socio-economic weaknesses, prevented them from implementing the required political responses. Practically all of them favoured a “short-term emergency approach” based mainly on supporting the health sector, public awareness campaigns and lockdowns, says the study. Two notable exceptions, Tunisia and Morocco, put in place medium and long-term strategies with a Covid-19 management programme that included various scenarios for the former and a national personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment production plan, plus universal health care, for the latter.

Reducing the chasm between public and private sectors

The 48-page document does not limit itself to drawing up a report, it also includes political recommendations. Among other things, it recommends, “To enhance healthcare system resilience, we recommend: To establish an early warning capability to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare sector to detect pandemics and to be ready to respond in case of large-scale infections.” The states must also draw up a plan to “procure the necessary medical equipment, garments, testing kits, medication and medical protocols, as well as any other essential material and equipment and potential extensions of the public healthcare infrastructure facilities(…)that are required to manage the short-term impacts of the crisis, in close collaboration with international organisations such as the WHO”. This needs to take into account the local institutional and socio-economic weaknesses.
The authors also recommends to “reduce the public-private gap, investing more in the public sector and engaging the private healthcare system more to provide support in extreme shock situations”.
*Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia

"How resilient are the Healthcare systems in the Mediterranean ? "by Rym Ayadi et Sara Ronco

Thursday, January 14th 2021

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Thursday, February 11th 2021 - 14:55 EMEA sets out Covid-19 economic resilience foundations