Foreign medical workers living in Slovakia ready to help with coronavirus crisis

The Health Ministry is looking for a way to engage them. It is one of the ways the government is looking to secure enough health care professionals to walk Slovakia through the crisis.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/SITA)

As the Czech health care system braces itself for the expected increase of COVID-19 patients, the government proposed a law to allow all foreign nationals to skip the necessary exam before they can start working in Czech hospitals.

They will be allowed to work under the supervision of fully-qualified doctors. The easier access to health care jobs for foreigners will be applied during the state of emergency in the country, and for three months after it is called off, the denik.cz reported.

Across the border in Slovakia, foreign medical experts living in the country got together and came forward with their offer to help Slovak hospitals. The International Association of Doctors in Slovakia (MALNS) gathers 33 doctors and nurses in Slovakia with proper education and experience. What they have not yet received is the certificate that allows them to work as health care professionals in Slovakia.

“They simply want to help Slovakia because they consider it to be their home,” Alona Kurotova, coordinator of the initiative, told The Slovak Spectator.

Insufficient medical staff

At the peak of the coronavirus epidemic in Slovakia about 1,030 patients are expected to require ventilators at a time. Analysts of the Institute of Health Policy (IZP) think tank running under the Health Ministry expect in their updated prognosis that this will happen at the beginning of July.

Slovakia had about 500 such machines before the outbreak of the virus, then purchased 100 more in March and the government announced the purchase of 300 more ventilators during the first weekend of April.

The machines, however, do not operate on their own. Experts agree that sufficient number of medical staff is needed to work the ventilators and take care of patients. Only then can the COVID-19 epidemic in Slovakia be successfully treated, they say.

Slovakia is lacking 3,338 doctors and 1,020 nurses, showed the analysis Condition of Medical Staff in Slovakia from 2018. Without the now active medical staff older than 65 (since people older than this are considered the at-risk group for COVID-19), the shortage climbs up to 5,515 doctors and 1,700 nurses.

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