Chronic patients in Romania find it difficult to have access to treatment because of coronavirus pandemic.
The number of coronavirus
infections is constantly on the rise in Romania. Underfunded for years, the
Romanian healthcare system is one of the least performing in Europe. Given this
grim reality, many are sounding an alarm signal and criticising the authorities
for their handling of the current health crisis. As the number of coronavirus cases
is growing, the number of available beds in hospitals is decreasing. And even where
more beds are supplied, there is still not enough staff available.
Until not long ago in favour
of treating all coronavirus cases in hospital, including asymptomatic and mild
cases, healthcare officials are now changing the rules and want these latter types
of cases to be treated at home. This would free hospital beds for those with
serious forms of infection. Except that if some of the asymptomatic and mild
cases do at some point need intensive care treatment, there is a risk there won't
be a free bed for them.
Under the circumstances, the
doctor and researcher Octavian Jurma told Radio Romania that the authorities
should adopt a more proactive approach:
"We begin to take action
based on the numbers we see, when we see them. If, for example, today we're
having 5,000 new cases, the curve from two weeks ago would have indicated with
quite a lot of precision that we'd get to the point we are today. To keep up
with the pandemic, we must act today as if what we expect to happen in two weeks'
time has already happened. The measures taken as part of the red tier stage are
good measures. The problem is that they are always behind the pace of the
As the authorities are focusing
entirely on managing the coronavirus outbreak, chronic patients are sounding a
strong alarm signal: they too, have a right to medical care. The
transformation, often overnight, of healthcare facilities such as Colentina
hospital in Bucharest into facilities that are only treating coronavirus
patients is limiting the access of chronic patients to treatment. The president
of the Alliance of Chronic Patients, Cezar Irimia:
"These patients feel
marginalised, abandoned, ignored by the healthcare system and are being left to
fend for themselves. There's no proper assignment of these patients to
hospitals and doctors."
As for the solution, the
president of the Coalition of Organisations of Patients with Chronic Disorders,
"The recommendations of the World Health Organisation
are clear: each hospital should treat both Covid and non-Covid patients. All
they need is to be provided with the necessary equipment and testing kits."