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Public health in Catalonia continues at half gas in the face of future pandemics

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The millennial generation and all those who come after will live “one or two more pandemics” of an intensity like that of covid-19. warns him Joan Guix, former secretary of the Public Health Agency of Catalonia (Aspcat) and member of the Public Health Society of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands (SSPCB). The climate change and the globalization will facilitate (they already do) the global transmission of viruses.

Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of strengthen public health. According to Guix, the epidemiological surveillance (one of the aspects of public health) in Catalonia has been reinforced as a result of the pandemic. “He has obtained informative tools and has received an increase in human Resources, as trackers and epidemiologists.” The “great risk,” according to him, is that all of this is “flower of a day”.

However, the epidemiologist Joan Cayla, member of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology (SEE), stresses that much of this embedded staff is “untrained”. “And many others have contracts that have already expired”, Cayla added. In addition, he warns that the covid-19 and the monkey pox they have put aside the follow-up of other notifiable diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.

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Although Guix believes that epidemiological surveillance has entered the political agenda, the same has not happened with Health promotion and the health prevention. “This can give us problems because they are very important aspects outside of the epidemic. We are talking, for example, about food safety or community health,” says Guix. He insists that, “in times of peace,” it is “so important” to health protection and promotion such as epidemiological surveillance.

Other fights parked

The former Secretary of Public Health of Catalonia also focuses on the fact that, due to the health crisis, In recent years, the fight against climate change. Also, according to him, little emphasis has been placed on the social bias who have had covid-19 infections. “Very little has been discussed that the virus has affected the poor more,” points out. He does believe that Catalonia is “prepared” to detect a new pandemic, however, it will be necessary to develop “the pharmacological part” when a new virus appears.

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is less optimistic Joan Cayla, who believes that the system has not yet been sufficiently strengthened. After covid-19, Spanish epidemiologists experience the ‘handicap’ of monkeypox, which is greatly affecting Madrid and Barcelona. “This implies that people who do field epidemiology You have to dedicate yourself exclusively to it. And so, other notifiable diseases are parked, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or sexually transmitted infections”, says Caylà.

In these infections there is diagnostic delays. This epidemiologist insists that these diseases are not being “properly monitored” and that is why it is impossible to make annual reports on them. It does value positively that Spain is promoting the creation of a state Public Health Center, although at the moment it is unknown where it will be located. Madrid is ruled out, according to Caylà.

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