meeting with the “trustworthy” Minister of Health – La Voce di New York

“Every country needs to know how to learn from others. For a long time, the healthcare sector was wrongly considered a national and sometimes even a territorial and regional issue. Two years of pandemic have taught us that it is instead an international issue, so we has to take a qualitative leap in terms of global governance. “

That’s how Health Secretary Roberto Speranza began Saturday in front of reporters summoned to the 30th floor of a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. On his way through New York to meetings at UN headquarters, he will be in Washington from Monday to sign a memorandum on health cooperation with his American colleague, Xavier Becera, who also sees virologist Anthony Fauci. Speranza seems to us very “sure”, sure of what he is saying. He was the Western health minister who now faced covid more than two years ago when the illusion that it could only be a Chinese problem disappeared. So when he’s done answering the journalists’ questions, La Voce di New York approaches him again to ask him what he would take from the US health care system and what absolutely not, about anti-pandemic strategies, but also in general. , here he is the Italian minister responds in a completely different way diplomat: “It is clear that I am defending the universal system, it is the Italian and European model. A model to be defended with a knife between the teeth. It is the idea that if you are ill, it does not matter how much money you have or where you were born, but you have the right to be treated and you do not need insurance or credit cards. I would keep this model forever and would like to defend and strengthen it. What would I get from the US? Their extraordinary ability to invest in research. I think that is a point about who we should think about in order to try to force our capacity ”.

The most important lesson learned from the pandemic to always keep in mind? “The need to invest in the national health service. Now we finally have more resources, we must invest them in the best possible way – he continued – This means that we must invest in the local health service, in home care, the home as the first place of care, strength our prevention network with shared housing and hospitals in the community “.

At the UN, Speranza met with the President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, with whom he, on the issue of vaccination campaigns, shared the need for further efforts to work not only on dose donations but also on logistics to ensure that doses arrive at their destination. “In Italy, we have administered 137 million doses. To do this in a limited number of months, it requires a large national health service. We take it for granted, but this is a true fact: you need a capillary network, the presence in the territory of doctors, nurses, health workers “, the minister said, stressing the importance of” the more structured countries working to ensure that the vaccine, once donated, can reach the recipients “. Mental health issues were at the heart of UNICEF meetings, also in the light of the Global Summit, the fourth edition of which will take place in October in Italy. “The pandemic has taught us that there is no health without mental health,” Speranza said, adding that the UN agency for children will be present, “because the theme is in a revealing way linked to the younger generations, to most children. “a large proportion of mental health problems occur in the younger ages, in children and adolescents”.

The Covid state in Italy does not seem to worry Speranza, even after identifying the Omicron4 variant, although he warns that we must not fail our guard: “We are constantly monitoring the variants. There will be a new ‘flash survey’ on 3 May, which is our variant control mechanism. At present, the variants of the Omicron family are all within the same basic scheme and have not caused any particular management problems in our country given our vaccination level and the types of vaccines we have used. ” who have used vaccines that have not been shown to be adequate compared to Omicron.

The Minister then reiterated that “the fight against the virus has either been won by all or not. For this we must take responsibility for the difficulties in the most fragile countries, and we must do so with donations, increase them, but also with logistical and organizational assistance. to promote vaccination campaigns, and we must do so as soon as possible. ‘

On the eve of the abolition of the green passport and the relaxation of mandatory mask measures in Italy, Speranza from New York reiterated the importance of insisting on third doses. “The vaccination campaign is not over. We must insist on the third dose and the fourth dose for people who already have a recommendation from the health authorities, that is, those over eighty, those who live in an RSA and for people between 60 and 79 with special frailties. “Tomorrow we in Italy will take a step forward on a gradual path – continue – but we have to keep our feet on the ground. Italy was the first country to be hit, we had to come up with pretty tough solutions. Now we can make this choice because we have made an extraordinary vaccination campaign.If we can afford some progress, it is because more than 90 percent of people over 12 have completed the primary two-dose course.Without these figures, it would not have been possible ”.

To those who pointed out the difference between Italy and the United States in terms of the obligation to wear masks, he replied: “Not having an obligation does not mean becoming irresponsible. There are still situations indoors as well as outdoors where there may be conditions for gathering, “note that” the fight against Covid is not over yet “.

They also asked Speranza questions about internal politics: Is his party still aiming for an alliance with Giuseppe Conte’s 5-star movement, especially after the differing views taken on the Russian invasion of Ukraine? It looks like this, but here the Minister seemed less “sure”, but as long as there is covid and we talk about it, hope is there.

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