August 9, 2022

The Catholic Transcript

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Rede D’Or UOL Leaders: Public Health Suffocated

UOL – In this pandemic, private initiative has taken the lead in many situations. Is the Ministry of Health lacking leadership?

Leandro Reis Tavares – I think the pandemic has demonstrated the real infrastructure, even intellectual, of a country in terms of health. When the coronavirus hit us, our vulnerabilities that had been built up over decades were exposed. We need to be aware of this, and train increasingly competent leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors.

We need to understand the real needs of the population. Sometimes the discussion is in an intellectual and ethereal realm that does not reach the pain of people who are in emergency situations and cannot get care. In the private sector, we are guided by what our patients tell us.

During the pandemic, we took the initiative and contacted a group of hospitals in northern Italy, which were already very sick with COVID-19. We saw that we needed to prepare in a way that we have not yet been able to see. So we never need an emergency shutdown.

Why hasn’t the pandemic left a legacy of greater public-private cooperation?

I agree with you that there is room for partnership, and I agree that Brazil lacks the formal construction of a place where this partnership can take place without questioning or appearing as a simple one-time donation. This official space is missing.

Sometimes the management of public authority is very difficult. We do not participate in public institutions, when we commit, we do it for free with private money. We have great concern as we realize that many directors-general are making mistakes and a Member of Parliament today [Ministério Público] Catch him, the police too.

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The life of serious general managers is not easy either. I’ve seen many asking why they are buying masks and gloves at five times more than usual. The whole world bought it this way. Often times the general manager does not have the power to negotiate, buys more expensive and then ends up under a series of investigations.

We are clear that government controls are important because we see bad things being discovered every day, but it is difficult for a serious manager to manage public health.

But, really, we need formal environments where this partnership can take place in a more structured way and the private sector can collaborate more effectively.