If a year ago we titled our meeting ‘The Frontiers of the Fight against Covid-19’ because it was a time when we had to join forces to contain the virus on all fronts, this time the motto of the convocation, according to the accurate suggestion of Minister Darias, is ‘The lessons of the Covid-19’.
This is a very different perspective. Then we fought tooth and nail for survival. It was a containment strategy, designed to stop the advance of a pandemic that took lives everywhere and even blocked the functioning of many areas of our society.
Although we cannot even say that humanity has defeated the pandemic, we can proclaim that the pandemic will no longer defeat humanity.
Let’s put it simply: Before we were losing and now we are winning; Before we played defensively and now we do it on attack. And in the evolution of this process, both the public administrations and each and every one of the actors in the health sector have learned lessons that you can and should share with others. That is the meaning of this meeting.
The first of the lessons has been learned, and at the same time taught, by Spanish society as a whole. We have to formulate it in terms that exude a ring of legitimate pride: together we are cornering the virus.
Before we were losing and now we are winning; Before we played defensively and now we do it on the attack
No one will be able to give us back our loved ones and all our deceased compatriots; nothing can make us forget the pain, the uncertainty, the anguish of the worst moments; Even today we cannot look away from the hospitalized, from those who fight for survival in ICUs, from the most vulnerable who fear reinfection.
But despite all that, after all that, the scenario is completely different from a year ago. I well remember the mixture of hope, surprise and skepticism with which it was welcomed in this same room, and in the virtual room packed with the tens of thousands of people who followed the act in streaming, the announcement that on September 6, 2020, or So, a year and a week ago, did Salvador Illa, that before the end of December there would be 3 million doses of vaccines in Spain. They did not reach that many, but that December vaccination against a virus that we had just learned about in March began.
Well, 53 weeks later, 74% of Spaniards are vaccinated with the complete regimen and that places us at the top of the ranking of the great countries on earth. A collective achievement that should be enough for us, in this country, so given to self-flagellation, to begin to feel better about ourselves.
What is behind this spectacular data? First, an exemplary citizenry that trusts science and health authorities. The degree of acceptance of the vaccine in all age groups, especially among the young, is impressive. In Spain there are no deniers or if there are they do not dare to raise their voices, because the consensus in favor of rationalism and empirical knowledge is overwhelming. Yes, Spain is different, but for the better.
In second place, We must recognize the efficiency that our healthcare model has shown for these purposes. While it is true that the fragmentation of powers among the 17 autonomies has led to greater complexity in decision-making – and the minister Darias, like its predecessor BadlyYou know well how difficult some inter-territorial ones have been, – then, when the vaccines are distributed, the capillarity of the autonomic system has proven to be ideal to accelerate the process.
You have to uncover yourself and throw your hats in the air with joy at the enormous effort that the pharmaceutical industry has made
In third place, We must talk about the immense effort that all health personnel are deploying in morning and afternoon shifts, sometimes seven days a week inoculating doses in hospitals, sports centers, shopping centers or company headquarters.
It is also fair to underline in fourth place the success of the vaccine procurement and supply strategy adopted by the Government within the framework of the European Union and the merit of the European Commission in establishing criteria, reaching commitments and requiring suppliers to comply with them.
And finally you have to uncover yourself and throw your hats into the air with glee at the colossal effort that the pharmaceutical industry has done to design, test, validate, produce and distribute the largest number of vaccines in history in record time.
Humanity, and of course Spanish society, has to look with new eyes at this sector that invests so much in research. This does not mean taking any practice as good, but it does mean understanding that behind a vaccine, behind a drug, behind a new health technology there are enormous efforts that will only continue to be possible with profitable companies, with investment muscle and the ability to bet on it. field of clinical trials.
That Spanish companies are intervening in this multinational endeavor, that we have the well-founded hope of being able to have Spanish vaccines soon and that the large scientific publications are following with such interest the clinical trials of a drug capable of curing Covid designed from a molecule marina by a Spanish company, they are additional reasons that feed that feeling of satisfaction and pride that stems from the faith in science so deeply rooted in our society.
It is very important that Spain is going to dedicate 7% of its GDP to Health this year
The ‘Lessons from Covid-19’ they go far beyond vaccines, but what happened with vaccines establishes a double paradigm. Only collaboration between science, industry and politics contributes effectively to the protection of the health of citizens. And only public-private collaboration can optimize society’s resources for the benefit of patients.
That was one of the main conclusions with which, as a decalogue, we closed our first symposium. It is encouraging to see that in some of these points there are advances as significant as the increase in public investment in Health. It is very important that Spain is going to dedicate 7% of its GDP to Health this year, that almost 800 million of the Recovery Plan will be allocated to the renovation of the sanitary technology park, or that the government is promoting through the ministries of Health, Industry and Technology the state-of-the-art PERTE of Health of which the ministries Reyes Maroto and Diana Morant They will also speak to us in the next few days.
Thinking about the future, combining Public Health with the Economy, one of the great lessons of Covid-19 is that Spain can be one of the leading countries in the development of a European pole within the healthcare industry. And that must be consistent with the consolidation and improvement of our state-of-the-art Public Health system.
We have a very structured sector around business organizations as solid as Farmaindustria and Fenin, we have transversal institutions of the prestige of IDIS, with professional associations as deeply rooted as the Collegiate Medical Organization or the General Council of the Colleges of Pharmacists, with powerful drug distributors, with more than 900,000 registered health workers, with a Public Health System envied throughout the world, with a private hospital system that complements it by channeling 29% of health spending or with an insurance sector that already reinforces protection of the health of more than 9 million Spaniards. We are all waiting for the project of the great State Health Agency that so many adhesions and offers of collaboration raised last year.
Our Health Observatory it aims to act as a catalyst for all of this. EL ESPAÑOL is a great generalist medium, the most widely read in Spain on mobile devices, according to Comscore, and our side is Invertia one of the three major economic newspapers of reference. That is why we want to serve both as a specialized platform and as a connecting bridge between the healthcare world and society as a whole.
It only remains for me to thank you all for your presence. Great crises are also great opportunities.
Last year I presented this symposium as a kind of General States of Health. If we had 70 speakers then, this year there will be more than a hundred. The entire sector will be represented here and if there are any exceptions it will be to confirm the rule.
In the time that has elapsed, we have institutionalized the Observatory, providing it with a secretariat and a stable nucleus of permanent members with whom we maintain weekly contact through our newsletter and with whom we have planned the program for this seminar. Our purpose is to add new activities to convert the Observatory at the permanent meeting point and in the daily suggestion box for the entire sector.
It only remains for me to thank you all for your presence. Great crises are also great opportunities. If in less than ten months we have managed to vaccinate 74% of the population, there will be no challenge that will resist us if we manage to unite the same wills. I don’t know if Health is, as our mothers have always said, the most important thing in our lives; but it is the essential requirement of all our other projects and dreams. Let us protect it together. We got it together.
*** Speech Pedro J. Ramirez during the inauguration of the II Health Observatory.
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