Epidemiologists to Vili Beros: Here Is the List of Our Requests

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Screenshot | Nova TV, Vili Beros
Screenshot | Nova TV, Vili Beros

Screenshot | Nova TV, Vili Beros

August 31, 2020 – A few days ago, epidemiologists showed they’d had enough of belittling, endless days, and disrespect for their profession, reports Jutarnji.hr. That’s why the President of the Croatian Epidemiological Society, Dr. Miroslav Venus, accompanied by three other colleagues, took a list of their requests to the Minister of Health, Dr. Vili Beros.

The proposal of measures for the improvement of the work on the control of the spread of the new coronavirus was published on August the 29th on the Society’s website. In addition to most of the 11 requests/proposals, the epidemiologists meticulously wrote a possible solution. They left no room for excuses. In addition, Dr. Venus says that everything that is written is also achievable. Most of this can already be implemented in practice today and make life easier for Croatia’s epidemiologists.

Endless questions

After countless requests, and finally warnings, too, the Ministry is first asked to remove their phone numbers from the TV screen.

“Sick people, those who suspect that they’ve contracted the disease or want a consultation must call an epidemiologist directly. Well, one hundred and three of us spend most of our time answering endless questions from worried people. Their concern is clear, but the answers should be given to them by the service that was abolished today on the number 113,” says Dr. Venus on behalf of all of his colleagues.

It would also be good, they suggest, to open up the possibility of communication via SMS.

Since they need help, because the service is not only bursting at the seams but is also threatened with collapse, they suggest that newly graduated doctors who would work under supervision could help them. They also want to enable the redeployment of specialists within the Institute. Underestimating their profession was never clear to them. So, while the Ministry finances specialisations in all fields today, epidemiologists must be paid by the Institute itself. They are looking for a change to this.

Croatia’s epidemiologists are aware that the economy can no longer suffer and are proposing a new model for referring people to self-isolation. “The SARS-CoV-2 virus is in local transmission, so the measures of wearing masks, physical distance, hygiene, and disinfection apply to everyone. Only the contacts of those infected should be placed in self-isolation if they are from strategic activities – such as health workers and people working in nursing homes. All other contacts would do their job with precautionary measures in place anyway,” the epidemiologists state as a suggestion on how to help the economy, especially small businesses.

They also suggested to Vili Beros that all institutes should have their own testing devices, and they can buy them from decentralised funds that the state has provided to local governments. Most importantly, they require the greater involvement of family doctors in combating the spread of the virus. Family doctors are a sharp thorn in the side of epidemiologists.

“We’re looking for their greater involvement, such as enrolling in the platform and checking in on those who are infected. When I enroll them I don’t want to take care of them anymore. I leave them to their chosen doctor because new infected people come to me and I have to make time for them at that point. They have a contract with HZZO, let them threaten to terminate the contract and then the problem is solved,” said one epidemiologist.

The human factor

“I read somewhere that concessionaires were involved in only 10 percent of activities during the epidemic, as if it doesn’t concern them. Clearly I can’t generalise though. I told Vili Beros precisely that. Don’t let us convince you that this is impossible. Personally, there are family medicine doctors in our field with whom we have excellent cooperation and those with whom we don’t. It all comes down to the human factor. This is too serious of a situation for ‘I’d like to or I’d not like to. I would not like to that much either. I’d also go out and watch football today, but I have to call the contacts of those infected and those who are infected,” explained Dr. Venus.

Minister Beros listened to the proposals and immediately called his associates who could look into them and gave them instructions. This is a good sign for Croatia’s enfeebled epidemiologists. In doing so, some of the solutions do not require additional time and money. Their implementation can begin from September the 1st. “Family doctors can be immediately warned to increase their engagement,” the epidemiologists suggest.

“All of this doesn’t make sense anymore. People, let’s get serious. We feel like we’ve drawn the short straw here, we’ve been second-class citizens for months because someone protests whatever we do,” complained Dr. Venus.

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