Covid: Romania's health system torn apart by pandemic

Covid: Romania's health system torn apart by pandemic

10/23/2021 4:54:00 AM

Covid: Romania's health system torn apart by pandemic

Intensive care beds are full, patients wait outside and vaccination rates are among Europe's lowest.

Image caption,The increasing degrees of red and purple show how Covid is spreading, particularly in urban areasRomania's 2,000 intensive care beds are all full, and patients are now having to wait outside. The first 50 critically ill patients have been transferred to hospitals in Hungary and Poland.

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"Sometimes I feel like the whole country has become a resuscitation department," said Dorel Sandesc, head of intensive care at Timisoara hospital in western Romania."It is a national failure on all levels. We are witnessing a kind of national blindness, caused by the lack of education, by the lack of civilisation," Dr Sandesc, who's vice-chairman of the Romanian Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, told the Puterea a Cincea website.

Vaccination levels now stand at little more than 29% of the whole population and 34% of the adult population, the second lowest in the EU after Bulgaria.Politicians are blaming the public for refusing to get vaccinated and believing conspiracy theories about the danger of the vaccines. headtopics.com

The public blames the politicians - for poor leadership, inadequate healthcare, and above all for vanity and corruption.This weekend, the latest "vaccination marathon" is being held in the capital, Bucharest, with six centres open 24 hours a day, to encourage the reluctant. In the first two hours on Friday more than 1,000 people got the jab.

Back in June Romania's decision to relax restrictions was hugely popular and loudly trumpeted by then Prime Minister Florin Citu. Medical commentators felt it was rash and irresponsible.Romania's healthcare system, stretched to capacity by years of both neglect and corruption, is coming apart at the seams, despite the everyday heroics of medical staff.

Now, on a seven-day average, 15,000 people a day are testing positive in this population of 19.4 million:574 people died last TuesdayOn average 389 deaths per day over seven days226 people have died per million in the past 14 daysEU average is 24 deaths per million

At the vaccination centre in Rosiori de Vede, a small town nearly two hours south-west of Bucharest, they've just moved the vaccination centre from the sports stadium to a pensioner's club with just two rooms."We had to scale down because the gym was too big for the low number of people getting vaccinated in our town," says Liliana Catrinoiu, director of the centre. headtopics.com

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Image source,Image caption,The Romanian government has tried to encourage wider take-up with vaccine marathons"A large part of the population preferred to believe all the alarmist and sensational news related to vaccination."During the summer, Romania sold on unwanted vaccines to Ireland, Denmark and Vietnam, because of low domestic interest.

Read more: BBC Health News »

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