“We are not responsible for govt’s failure to prioritise health” – MAM & MAPHM

Updated 03:20 PM
Medical workers wearing protective masks and suits walk in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital, where patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated, in Cremona, Italy March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Certain lobbies are continuously attempting to undermine the efforts made by public health professionals to bring this pandemic under control, said the Medical Association of Malta, MAM, and the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine, MAPHM, in a joint statement, in which they specifically referred to comments made by an MTA Director “instructing establishments how to circumvent Legal Notices meant to protect the public’s health.”

To highlight this issue, doctors working within the COVID-19 Response team which includes Public Health Medicine specialists, Specialist Trainees and Foundation Doctors protested against the government’s handling of this pandemic by striking between 8am-9am today with the exception of doctors working at the Testing Centres.

All MAM members fully complied with the one hour strike

In a statement issued shortly after the strike was over, MAM explained the Public health doctors work which includes coordination of the public health response to COVID-19. They normally perform administrative work, organise and participate in swabbing centres, actively perform, track and tracing or COVID cases. MAM also said that all other data collection and analysis with regards to COVID-19 leading to scientific advice is also done by these doctors who are specialised in epidemiology which is the science of controlling epidemics.

Standing together to protect everyone’s health#staysafe #protectthevulnerable #publichealth

Posted by MAPHM – Malta Association of Public Health Medicine on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Both associations said that they can no longer work in an environment where they are constantly undermined and called fearmongers, and they cannot be made responsible for the failure of the government to prioritise the population’s wellbeing over the short-term economic interests of the few.

“Public Health Medicine doctors, together with many others, have been working tirelessly day and night, 7 days a week, and away from their normal duties for the last 6 months to attempt to control this pandemic. Our advice based on scientific evidence has been proven to be effective, since the pandemic was well under control in the beginning of summer,” explained MAM and MAPHM.

As Public Health experts they had proposed a transparent framework based on an evidence-based risk assessment with clear thresholds to follow which would allow certain establishments and activities to restart with mitigation measures. The associations said that instead of following this plan, government decided not to publish it and go against all reasonable public health advice.

On Wednesday, the Medical Association of Malta ordered doctors working in the public health system to strike for an hour on Thursday morning in protest against “political and unscientific interference” by other ministries in the health authorities’ efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

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