Epidemiologist: New Restrictive Measures Were Necessary, Staff Problem Persists

Society » HEALTH | November 30, 2020, Monday // 11:55
Bulgaria: Epidemiologist: New Restrictive Measures Were Necessary, Staff Problem Persists pexels.com


"Firm restrictions and closures or the so-called lockdown " is part of the anti-epidemic measures during any epidemic, especially when it comes to airborne infections, which spread extremely quickly and affect large numbers of people. In my opinion, such measures are necessary. We'll see exactly what the result will be. Morbidity is expected to drop within 2 weeks along with the mortality rate,“ said in an interview with BGNES Prof. Victoria Doycheva, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Hygiene of the Medical University of Sofia.

As a specialist in the field, Prof. Doycheva believes that health authorities are even late in imposing the stricter anti-epidemic measures. "Perhaps such measures should have come into force earlier, early October or even September. After all, now that they are imposed, we'll see what happens," she said.

It is surprising to her why so many people do not practise the necessary self-discipline, and some even continue to deny the epidemic. "A lot of people still believe that Coronavirus does not exist, such a disease and such an infection are nothing but a myth. It's hard for them to be convinced, but now the large number of infected, many severe cases and the inability of the health system to cope with them seem to make people believe a little more," says Prof. Doycheva.

She also points out the most worrying fact – Bulgaria topped the most negative statistics in Europe. "At the moment, it really turned out that by mortality we stand first in Europe. This is due to the extremely difficult situation in our health system," she said. The reason is clear, according to Prof . Doycheva – the lack of trained personnel.

"There are no infectologists, no resuscitationists and pulmonologists that are directly related to exactly this infection. This is a problem that has been persistent for many years and no one has solved it so far. Now this epidemic has come and the problem with understaffed hospitals has come to light," the expert said.

"Prof. Doycheva reminds another important aspect – the transformation of a number of general therapy wards in multi-profile hospitals into COVID-wards. Doctors with another specialty have to work in them, but they are not as well prepared as infectologists and pulmonologists to treat this infection, which makes the process extremely difficult.

In her opinion, it is very difficult and even impossible to find a quick solution to the staff shortage problem in the healthcare system, because training of a good doctor or a good nurse requires a lot of time and effort. A doctor's specialization, after completing medical education, lasts between 4 and 5 years until he or she acquires a specialty and develops as a professional," she notes.

Recently, Prof. Doycheva also had the opportunity to see how the system works in her capacity of a patient. "I contracted the virus and had to be admitted to the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the Military Medical Academy (MMA). I express my gratitude to the team headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Georgi Popov, a very good infectologist and internist. There is a professional team there, with extremely good theoretical and practical training. They cope well with the patients but as an infectious clinic they do not have enough staff either. Doctors and nurses are in short supply, especially nurses. However, they are on the frontline 24/7 and help patients. There are also quite seriously ill patients there," she said.

However, as an epidemiologist, he believes that vaccines remain an essential means for combating infectious diseases, and the argument for this is simple – history has proven it many times.

However, protective equipment is also important, she reminds. "In the presence of an airborne infection one cannot do without anti-epidemic measures. The main thing about this group of infections is wearing masks. The mask should be worn over the nose, of course. There are different types – from ordinary surgical masks to those with filters. Simple surgical masks work, however, as long as they are changed more often. Safety helmets also do their job," Prof. Doycheva says.

That's why she urges people to believe more in what health authorities are doing, because everything they do is based on scientific evidence and everyone should be more responsible and disciplined in their daily lives. /BGNES



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