RO President warns of pandemic pressure on healthcare system, impact of climate change on public health
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the chronic vulnerabilities of the Romanian healthcare system, but the country proved it has the institutional ability to act fast to limit its effects, president Klaus Iohannis said at an event occasioned by the World Health Day.
“The Covid-19 pandemic came at a difficult moment for the Romanian healthcare system, worsening chronic, structural vulnerabilities with long-term consequences for health and wellbeing. But no healthcare system and economy, regardless of the development level, were truly ready to manage a crisis of this magnitude. Without having the financial and material resources of other EU member states or a powerful healthcare system, Romania proved it has the institutional capacity to act fast, suitably, and efficiently to limit the spread of the pandemic,” Iohannis said.
The president warned of the pandemic pressure on the healthcare system, similar to the situation in other countries, and said the “sustainable and safe reopening of our society and economies” could not happen without accepting and complying with the sanitary measures in place. He said the available vaccines against Covid-19 give cause for optimism and entering a “new normal.”
At the same time, the president spoke of the need to take a preventative approach to pandemics. “The current strategies of combating pandemics are focused on controlling the illnesses after they appeared. The events of the past year have shown us that a change in the national and international approach is needed. We need to be better prepared to anticipate and respond to the emerging threats to public health in an efficient and coordinated manner. At the same time, we need to step up, at the global level, the efforts to reduce the risk of pandemics emerging.”
He also pointed to the impact of climate change on public health.
“Almost all the pandemics that occurred in time and 70% of emerging diseases were caused by animal-origin micro-organisms that migrate, through high contact, from animals to people. This migration is facilitated by an unhealthy relationship with the environment through the diminishing of natural habitats and the destruction of biodiversity, exploiting wildlife, and causing major climate changes. The impact of climate change on public health is serious and will become extremely serious if we don’t focus on combating this.”