Egils Levits
Egils Levits

Dear doctors and nurses, midwives, new doctors, pharmacists, support staff and everyone working in the healthcare sector of Latvia, Your big day is here again!

We have lived through another difficult year of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has taken an even greater psychological and physical toll than previous years on healthcare workers in Latvia and throughout the world.

The pandemic has also prematurely taken the lives of people close to you – colleagues, friends, prominent individuals in Latvia’s medical sector. It has depleted us, fatigued our hearts and minds.

Today general practitioners along with nurses and assistants carry a huge amount of work on their shoulders. Likewise, hospital staff and paramedics are still at the front lines of healthcare. The pandemic has not yet ended.

You, the medics of Latvia, are selflessly performing your mission under heightened stress, in circumstances of constant frustration and overwork, often sacrificing your private time and life for your work.

With such an attitude and professional actions you have demonstrated immense loyalty to your duties, your professional oath. Allow me to express my deepest respect and gratitude for the work you do. Again and again – thank you!

We all want to close the book on this pandemic as soon as possible.

Last year, the vaccines against Covid-19 sparked a light at the end of the tunnel. In Latvia, vaccines are free of charge for everyone, and medical practitioners are actively taking part in furthering vaccinations.

Unfortunately, the organisation of the vaccination processes turned out to be quite a difficult endeavour. The vaccination schedule and communication should have been implemented in a much more timely and clear manner. An efficient and rapid vaccine coverage would have also reduced the spread of misinformation and its effect on people’s minds. The experiences gained serve as important lessons for healthcare organisers, as well as our whole society.

Medics, patients, politicians and civil servants all need to learn to talk to one another better in order to achieve a common solution. We have one fundamental task at hand – to set our healthcare system straight.

The pandemic has highlighted many problems within this system. Let me mention two of the most important ones – salaries for healthcare workers and the number of budget spots in healthcare study and residency programmes, as these are closely linked to stability and continuity within the healthcare system. These issues need to be dealt with by the current and next government.

How we exit the pandemic will have a major impact on the further development of our state and society.

Dear medics,

The pandemic has caused many tragedies, but at the same time we have managed to find within ourselves new strength, new energy. In daily life, this is reminiscent of the concept of heroism.

Silent heroes who conscientiously follow their calling to help people – these are the medics nominated for awards to be presented tonight.

But I also urge you to express respect and awe for your colleagues  – the medics in Ukraine. Risking with their lives, they are saving the wounded in warzones, they are continuing their work in bombed ambulances and the basements of buildings, where they are caring for the sick and helping new lives come into this world. Even in the most dire circumstances, a doctor or nurse always embodies hope.

Let us in Latvia be ready for the work that these times demand and will keep demanding of us!

Let us help Ukrainian refugees and the heroic medics of Ukraine!

My heartfelt congratulations to you and thank you for your work! I wish the medical community of Latvia endurance and strength!

Thank you!

12.03.2022. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits un Andra Levites kundze piedalās ceremonijā “Gada balva medicīnā 2021”