Doctors urge Israeli health ministry not ready for measles outbreak – Israeli news



Elderly doctors strongly criticize the health ministry's handling of the recent measles disease. He said he waited for months before taking steps, then he did it hesitantly, misguided, and put inadequate human resources.

This caused confusion and even panic among the public, they added.

"Penny did not think it was an important event," said an infectious disease expert. "In the summer, the ministry should realize that we are facing extraordinary events and we must mobilize all systems."

After several cases of measles in the summer, he raised concerns about the outbreak, adding that the ministry had suggested that people traveling abroad should be vaccinated.

>>Everything you need to know about the measles outbreak that is struggling with Israel

Resources on Kolb Habriyut's telephone line said Moshe Bar Managing Director Siman Tov announced in 2017 that he had received many calls for measles but did not do anything with that information.

For the first time, the ministry acknowledged that the real problem is only six months after the media began to report an outbreak. The number of cases of measles started to increase significantly in March and 250 cases were diagnosed in August, roughly eight times more than in 2017.

In addition, many patients with cheekbones have been discovered on flights to Israel and Israel. But as noted, the ministry has only recommended that people be vaccinated before flying to certain parts of Europe where the outbreak began.

In October, there were almost 700 known cases. The most prominent outbreaks occurred in the Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Betar Ilit ultra -orthods, due to overcrowded conditions and vaccination only about 50 percent. Smaller outbreaks occurred in the north and in the settlements on the West Bank; there were also dozens of cases in Tel Aviv.

Last week, an eighteen-month-old child died in Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim district – the first death of measles in 15 years. To date, more than 1,400 measles cases have been reported, and doctors at Jerusalem hospitals say they are afraid they are losing control.

"This is a scandal," said the High Representative of one of Israel's major health care organizations about the behavior of the ministry. "We're lucky that they're just measles and not some other disease."

The ministry "made all the mistakes in resolving the crisis and explaining it," he added. "What happened in recent days is an attempt to make it possible to solve it by working with the media to look something like something to do, but the result was panic."

The ministry's outbreak report in 2013-14 differed significantly from managing the polio outbreak in 2013-14 at the time of the then Chief Executive Officer, prof. Ronni Gamza. To fight the mistrust of the system among some communities and the influence of the opponents' vaccination on social media, he personally met with leaders in various communities, including rabbis and imams. As a result, 980,000 children were vaccinated between August 2013 and January 2014 and the disease had no injury or death.

The difference in dealing with these two crises is huge, "said one senior doctor. "Polio crisis was defined as an emergency at an early stage and the crisis was addressed through mobilization and cooperation among many players – doctors and experts, HMO, local governments and others."

"Here is a key issue for leadership," added the person who is involved in several previous health crises. "I do not think the person who stands today in service can trigger a reaction to such an event."

"It's both a professional and a communication crisis," he continued. "He needs a lot of knowledge and experience in both disciplines and requires active management … and information levels much more detailed than what exists today."

The crisis also revealed the poor state of Israeli public health and its unpreparedness to an emergency. In 2012, this service employed 1,227 nurses who administered vaccines and monitored epidemics by locating a person exposed to a particular disease.

Today, however, the number has fallen to 920, which has led to expectation of vaccinations and subsequent visits. In addition, the tests are less thorough and less frequent.

Since the onset of measles, these nurses work 12 hours a day. This week, the ministry asked nurses for help.

"All 920 nurses are now dealing with a measles, all routine activities have been stopped," said Moriah Ashkenazi, a union nurse official. "The burden is so hard that nurses are unable to collect information and send messages to the health ministry in real time."

"We see families whose children have never been vaccinated," she added. "We have to finish not only their measles, but also other vaccinations with all the explanations, records and instructions."

Ilana Cohen, who runs her sister book, said the outbreak of the epidemic has shown her neglect of public health. "There was no correlation between population growth and number of nurses," she said. "We have at least 140 nursing jobs in public health."

Combining the problem is the fact that no ministry official directly communicated with the public or gave him media interviews to explain the situation. And the waiting time on the Kol Habriyut Hotline is 10 minutes or more.

Parents said she felt pressured, confused and angry. They believe that they do not have enough information to deal with the crisis and complain of inadequate access to medical staff. Hotline operators do not seem to know much, they add, and it's hard to make appointments. In addition, the published recommendations of the Ministry are confusing.

For example, one mother from Herzliya claimed that she had been trying to call a local vaccine provider for three days to provide a shot for her son, but there was no answer.

And when Haaretz tried to make an adult appointment, she was told that the next appointment, which was available at the Tel Aviv district health office, was February 11th.

Another problem is that responsibility for vaccination is shared between several agencies – district health authorities, children's clinics, healthcare companies, HMO and clinics – depending on the age and condition of the patient.

"The first thing that stands out is the confusion and ignorance of people calling for questions," said a senior HMO official. "Not even our hotline operators have all the answers."


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