WHO ready to secure medical staff for Czech hospitals

Photo: ČTK/Dalibor Glück

Over the past few days, the Covid-19 epidemic in the Czech Republic has slightly slowed down. Nevertheless, hospitals around the country continue to struggle with a serious shortage of medical staff. The Ministry of Health is currently negotiating with the World Health Organisation to help secure nurses and doctors to help out in the fight against Covid-19.

After a steep and continuous growth in new coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, there are now signs that the epidemic might have culminated. However, the number of Czech doctors and nurses who have contracted the coronavirus infection continues to grow.

According to the President of the Czech Medical Chamber Milan Kubek, 16,000 health employees are currently fighting the infection, compared to 13,000 last week:

Milan Kubek,  photo: Šárka Ševčíková / Czech Radio

“What is worse, five doctors have already died in the Czech Republic. Last week two of our colleagues passed away. One was a general practitioner from Prague and the other a paediatrician from the Pardubice region.”

The Czech Ministry of Health has asked the World Health Organisation for two emergency medical teams to be deployed in the country. The deputy health minister, Aleksi Šedo, says hospitals are mainly in need of nurses for intensive care units.

It is not yet clear when the WHO medical teams will arrive, but according to the WHO’s representative in the Czech Republic, Dr. Srdan Matic, it could be within a matter of days:

“It doesn’t take very long to bring the teams in, especially because we will be primarily looking for staff to come from the European countries. So I don’t think we will have a lot of logistical problems and it can be very quick.  The situation in the Czech Republic regarding equipment, beds and supplies is very good in local hospitals.

“In the case of some other countries, the WHO teams have had to come with everything, even with their own field hospitals, to be able to provide assistance. This won’t be the case in the Czech Republic. It is simply about getting people here physically.”

Srdan Matic,  photo: archive of Srdan Matic

The WHO is not the only authority assisting the Czech Republic in its fight against Covid-19.

Seven National Guard medics from Texas and Nebraska are already helping out in the country’s hospitals and a further 21 are expected to arrive in the coming days.

Germany has offered two of its military doctors and said it would be willing to take in up to ten Czech patients from the border regions.

The Chamber of Deputies recently approved up to 300 military medics from EU and NATO countries being allowed to operate on Czech territory for up to 90 days.

The Czech Republic has also received material help from its allies, such as lung ventilators, which have been sent by Germany, Austria and Hungary as well as from the strategic reserves of the EU and NATO.

Close to 7,500 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in the Czech Republic, with over 1,000 of them in a serious condition.