ROME. «The programming was wrong on the respirators as on the flu vaccine stocks. Emergencies are chased rather than prevented, ”he says Stampa.it Professor Patrizia Laurenti, professor of Hygiene at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and director of the complex operating unit (Uoc) of Hospital Hygiene at the Department of Women’s, Child and Public Health of the Gemelli Irccs Polyclinic Foundation.
What’s the danger now?
«The virus is circulating exponentially and in this escalation of infections there are critical cases that require intensive care. At this point the clinical evaluation takes over, but there are serious structural delays ».
What are they due to?
“In Italy we pay dearly for the absence of a culture of prevention. Emergencies are pursued instead of anticipating them and preparing to face them. But Covid runs faster until it becomes irrepressible. Having respirators and not sending them to hospitals is an absurdity that arises from structural and organizational problems ».
What needs to be done?
“There is a specific public health discipline that indicates how to behave. It provides that it prepares in time for an emergency by predicting the number of infections and arranging a number of excess devices. With the Covid pandemic, the exact opposite has been done. They are unacceptable errors of assessment, which are discounted in terms of overwhelmed health structures and human lives that are lost ».
Why did it happen?
“There are no logical justifications. It was enough to stick to the history of the pandemics to expect the second wave. Even the Spanish has had three waves. Totally wrong bureaucratic and administrative choices have been made which reflect the absence of a culture of prevention. Italy is a country accustomed to reacting to emergencies and not to preventing. It is not clear what the harm was to new intensive care places. What was the risk? The cost of an extra station? ».
“We face the surge in cases and in a fortnight the numbers will be much higher. Emergency procedures are needed immediately and bureaucracy cannot be expected. The tools available are there and administrative delays must be overcome to make them available to those who save people’s lives. The global emergency we are experiencing certainly makes us rediscover the centrality of health. To be guaranteed at all moments of the treatment process. From prevention, to diagnosis, to therapy and rehabilitation. Moments that constitute the junctions of a journey in which no dimension is inferior to the other ».
Even through local medicine?
“Yup. In this context, local medicine in all its functions and articulations (general practitioner, local public health services put to the test in this phase of the epidemic for the necessary and very intense activities of tests, treatment, contact tracing) it needs to be enhanced. With a long-term project, that is not linked to the temporariness of the moment, because it is primarily in the territory that people express their health needs ».
What is the lesson of the pandemic?
«The most important lesson that in my opinion can be learned from the pandemic is that prevention has enormous health and social value. And therefore also economical. A good health system is not only capable of timely and accurate diagnosis and life-saving therapies, but it is also one that values prevention. That is, it protects health before it is compromised and rehabilitates all those affected by diseases. Public health is certainly a common good. It does not belong only to the individual but to the whole community. We think of the civic sense and respect for the common good that those who adhere to childhood vaccinations express not only to meet a legal obligation. But also to protect his fragile contacts, for example a classmate who for important health reasons cannot be vaccinated but is protected by his classmates who get vaccinated. Thus preventing the circulation of the pathogenic microorganism by reducing the quota of susceptible people “