QCOSTARICA – Following is an opinion piece by Dr. Rodolfo Hernández Gómez, former director of the National Children’s Hospital and former presidential 2018 presidential candidate, published in Crhoy.com, for authorities to view Health and the Economy as complements and not as separate issues.
The opinion stated by Dr. Hernández does not necessarily reflect the editorial perspective of Qcostarica.com.
“We are living in difficult times, the pandemic has not been satisfied with changing our lives, but is insisting on frightening us. Yes, because we get up and go to bed not only afraid of getting sick, dying, or losing a loved one, but we also live thinking about what will happen to work: what if my company closes? If I get fired? If I have already lost my job, how do I support my family?
“Therefore, it is essential that the government balance the risks of the pandemic with the benefits of the actions that are taken, there can be no divorce between Health and the Economy. And the clearest example occurred at Semana Santa (Easter), public employees were given the entire week off and the general population was urged to visit beaches and mountains, it is true, it was necessary to help the tourism sector, but it was not insisted Nor was it monitored to ensure that the measures of the mask, hand washing, distancing and maximum capacity were complied with. Now, again the numbers rise: positive cases, seriously ill, regrettable deaths.
“It is now when Health authorities must insistently remind us of the responsibility that each of us has in complying with individual protection measures, but at the same time, they must make greater efforts to intensify vaccination.
“The country needs to move faster to achieve a complete vaccination, because there is evidence that a single dose is false security and that it is necessary to have a second dose, to be out of risk. You should already think about doing a general immunization and giving vaccines to those over 18 years of age. Past experiences with other diseases have shown that the more coverage is expanded, the better the situation is controlled and it is possible to return to normality, something that we all long for.
We have a very robust, very solid health system, with coverage throughout the country. Let’s take advantage of the 29 hospitals and the more than a thousand health centers including EBAIS, CAIS and clinics, to intensify vaccination. Private pharmacies and a university have also said they willing to collaborate for free so that we can reach that goal of protection faster.
“If vaccination is not accelerated and if we as citizens do not do our part, cases will continue to increase and ICU beds will not be enough, let us not leave the hard task of deciding who is treated and who is not, because when resources and infrastructure are depleted, more people will die, and the tragedy will be greater.
“As general vaccination becomes a reality, it must be emphasized that the coronavirus does not give respite and that the new strains could further complicate the picture. If the government has no choice but to intensify the restrictive measures again, it must simultaneously make decisions that achieve less impact on the economy and on the pockets of each citizen, for example, make the payment of taxes more flexible and postpone them for a few months, implement Specific lines of financing for companies and independent workers, because it is not useful to Costa Rica if companies go bankrupt. Every time a gym, a hotel, a restaurant close their doors permanently, the economic repercussion is great.
“Another measure that the government should adopt to help Costa Ricans cope with this reality is to curb increases in fuel prices.
“It is up to the president, his ministers and health authorities to decide wisely, view Health and the Economy as complements and not as separate issues, there are studies that indicate that without good health, the economy slows down and the Gross Domestic Product decreases.”
Dr. Rodolfo Hernández Gómez
The foregoing was translated and adapted by the Q. Read the original (in Spanish) here.
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