Egils Levits Domestic policy
Valsts prezidents Egils Levits

Dear physicians, nurses, assistant doctors and nursing specialists, midwives, chemists, junior doctors, healthcare professionals,

A year ago, you appealed to the public of Latvia saying, ‘We will stay at work for you, you stay at home for us’. This has probably been an excruciatingly long year for all of us, especially you, dear healthcare workers.

Overcrowding of hospitals and postponing of elective procedures due to COVID-19 has put a strain on the whole healthcare system and everyone working in it.

Following the code of medical ethics, residents and students, and colleagues from other departments, have rushed to help those on the frontline of COVID-19 who are working with virus-stricken patients. Last year has really tested the emergency response capacity of the health system, pushing professionals to the limit. There is no routine that can prepare you for the emotional stresses you, dear healthcare workers, are continuing to endure.

Pandemic highlighted the weaknesses of our healthcare system, but it has also showed us how important each and every professional in the field is. How important human capital is.

I would like to use this uplifting moment for all professionals to express the deepest gratitude of the Latvian nation to every healthcare worker. Thank you for your abnegation, fidelity and professionalism.

Dear healthcare professionals,

This is a special year also because public agenda and government decisions were largely driven by recommendations of healthcare scholars and experts. Unfortunately, as we saw, these recommendations were not always or fully followed by those who should, and that has led to very unwanted complications.

We can succeed in stopping the virus together only if we make decisions informed by science and rational beliefs. We should help more people learn rational thinking to achieve stronger public health and national growth. Unfortunately, this year science has had to face a lot of unforeseen attacks in the form of disinformation. That has put additional pressure on medics whose resources had already been stretched.

Debunking falsehoods and vicious rumours, healthcare professionals as ambassadors of common sense continue to move forward another important part of current agenda. They try to encourage our population to get immunised. Vaccination is the only way to go back to normal life that we all want so much.

Dear medics,

From the point of view of our country’s future development, this is a perfect time to have a second look at the plans and make new adjustments. One of the must-haves of future development is adequate healthcare system and funding model, which fit society’s needs. Long-delayed health reform, including postponing of pay review, must end.

Dear healthcare professionals,

I truly believe that swift immunisation can bring us back on track in a matter of months when we will be able to say, ‘We are now allowed to leave our homes. And you no longer have to stay on duty for us’.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you for all!

2020 Medical Award ceremony