The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the importance of prevention in several aspects. People who follow preventive measures are in a much lower risk of getting the disease. The number of severe cases of Covid-19 and number of deaths clearly showed that the health status of the Czech population is in no way brilliant – and the greatest risks for a serious case relate to lifestyle diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases or obesity. In addition, we could see how the health condition of many people has deteriorated during times they were too worried to see their doctor. According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, it is therefore even more important to start paying attention to the issue. The plan to establish the Czech Oncology Institute and the National Virology Centre with the help of money obtained from the EU through the National Recovery Plan aims at this direction, said Babiš in his video message at the international panel of the Zdravotnický deník Permanent Conference on Czech Healthcare of 22 July, which focused on the economics of prevention.
“Not just the Czech healthcare system underwent an unexpected and extremely difficult test in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the topic of prevention has become more than relevant, since experience has shown that prevention alone, especially in the form of vaccination, represents the most effective protection against the spread of the disease. The most vaccinated age groups are the least affected by the Delta variant compared to younger people, among which the vaccination coverage is lower,” says Andrej Babiš.
As of 22 July, four million people in the Czech Republic were fully vaccinated and 1.2 million received their first dose. According to Babiš, the interest in vaccinations was increased by opening centres for unregistered candidates.From the right: ZD editor-in-chief and discussion host, Tomáš Cikrt, Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch, President of the Society for Public Health of the Republic of Poland and Head of the Department of Allergology, Lung Diseases and Internal Medicine of the Central Clinical Hospital in Warsaw, Andrzej Mariusz Fal, President of the Czech Society of Cardiology and Head of the Department of Cardiology and Angiology, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Aleš Linhart, Director of the General Health Insurance Company, Zdeněk Kabátek and Head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addictions, Viktor Mravčík. Photo: Radek Čepelák
National vaccination coverage is essential also for the return of healthcare to its normal functioning. “Over the year, coronavirus has drawn on human and technical capacities of the Czech healthcare system, which could have otherwise been used to prevent and treat other diseases, such as cancer, or addictions,” says Babiš, recalling that the government has increased money in healthcare by CZK 103 billion since last year, and recently decided to further increase payments for state-insured people with additional CZK 15 billion.
The National Virology Centre to be the headquarters for fighting epidemics
Therefore, Babiš would now like to pay attention to prevention. “We do not want to economize on prevention and treatment of serious diseases, especially oncological ones. Cancer is and will be an increasingly serious problem. The death rate for this disease is higher in our country than in the EU, and the coronavirus has made our situation even worse in this respect. People attended screenings less and the unfortunate result could be seen in near future. That is why I have been promoting the construction of a new oncology institute in Prague which will be located at Královské Vinohrady University Hospital and will be the second centre exclusively specialized in oncology in the Czech Republic after the Masaryk Cancer Institute in Brno,” Babiš outlines.From the right, ZD editor-in-chief and discussion host, Tomáš Cikrt, President of the Czech Society for Atherosclerosis, Michal Vráblík, President of the Czech Oncology Society and Head of the Oncology Clinic of the 2nd Medical Faculty of Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Jana Prausová, Deputy Director of the General Health Insurance, Ivan Duškov, President of the Association of Outpatient Specialists, Zorjan Jojko, Director of the State Health Institute, Barbora Macková, founding member of the Association of General Practitioners of the Czech Republic, Zdeněk Hamouz, and Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Petr Winkler. Photo: Radek Čepelák
In connection with Covid-19, the Czech Republic will receive financing from the EU for the implementation of the National Recovery Plan. A total of CZK 180 billion have been negotiated within its framework, whereof almost seven billion should be spent on the construction of the aforementioned institute.
“We also want to re-establish the National Virology Centre as the central institute for combating epidemics like the one we experienced last year,” adds Andrej Babiš.Prime Minister’s speech is followed by (from the left) editor of Zdravotnický deník Helena Sedláčková, Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Central Europe, Martin Fedor, former Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Slovak Parliament and Director of the Institute for Central Europe, Katarína Cséfalvayová, Publisher of Zdravotnický deník, Ivo Hartmann. Photo: Radek Čepelák
„We want to reestablish the National Virology Centre as the central institute for combating epidemics like the one we experienced last year,” Prime Minister Andrej Babiš intends. Photo: Radek Čepelák