Doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and other professionals associated with the health sector filled the Noble Hall in the Town Hall in Lule last night to hear a lecture from Deputy Director-General for Health, Rui Portugal, as part of the celebrations for the centenary of the birth of Laura Ayres.
“The Pandemic and Post-COVID Challenges” The slogan of this conference was, but for two hours, the approach was more comprehensive, and a real lesson in public health on its foundations and importance in the lives of societies.
What is public health? What are the lessons learned from the pandemic? And in the future, how can we position ourselves in terms of post-COVID? These were some of the topics addressed by Roy Portugal, one of the officials responsible for the National Health Plan, who pointed to the components of protection, promotion and prevention as the foundations of public health.
During his presentation, the speaker outlined some lessons learned from the pandemic that came in the year 2020 to change the world. With COVID-19, it has become very clear that “it is necessary to create scenarios for future work,” something that Roy Portugal considers to be a subject that has not been well studied.
But if the pandemic highlights the strengths of the International Health Regulations and other agreements and commitments, the lecturer believes that from now on, it is necessary to discuss and learn about the pandemic, to test response systems and effectiveness “long before emergencies occur.” He noted that it was the structures and response systems that were operating before the pandemic that allowed countries that did so to “achieve a more organized and coordinated action”.
The cooperation shown by the global scientific community to deliver a vaccine within a year is an example of “the rapid development of emerging discoveries in the field of biotechnology, genetics and virology, in particular, and naturally in the field of health and medicine in general,” born with the epidemic, the speaker considers.
In a note regarding the role of the SNS in the context of an epidemic, this doctor said that “the public health network allows for a rapid, close response.” SNS worked and ensured universality and responded with some flexibility. He highlighted that, of course, it must be improved.”
As for the future, it was pointed out by Roy Portugal Emergency preparedness must be at the heart of all health systems functions.
Communication between organizations and the public, by demonstrating its relationship to “better success in pandemic mitigation and management”, must become a priority area of public health action.
The track includes striving to develop “personal public health”, individualizing initiatives and practices for the well-being of communities and populations, and ensuring sustainability in relation to the system.
In terms of the public health agenda, in addition to strengthening emergency areas, a strategy and programs or resources should be created in areas such as global health (migrant or refugee), occupational health, longevity, environmental health or urban health.
With regard to the organization of health services, Ruy Portugal considers that the establishment of local health units is also “a good opportunity for the system to gain added value for the practice of public health.”
In a speech on the subject, Mayor Vitor Aleixo spoke of the experience the municipality had during the pandemic, emphasizing that it is still too early to assess, but one thing is certain: “This is a situation that could happen again!”. The official said that one of the main results of the pandemic has been to draw attention to the importance of public health and the investment that needs to be made to promote this field.
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