THANK YOU DEAR COLLEAGUES!

The epidemiological information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that over the past ten days the number of new cases continued to decrease; therefore these data show some encouraging signs. The data on COVID-19 cases shows that there is a significant reduction in the number of infected people, an increase in the number of vaccinated people and a positive mood of the citizens. Even though the number of reported deaths causes pain in many families and in the society, I found it appropriate to write a few lines to express my deepest gratitude to the hard working healthcare workers, to all doctors and nurses: Thank you dear colleagues!

We will painfully remember those who did not survive the complications caused by this pandemic and I would like to express our sincere condolences to their relatives. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and sacrifice, I hope to alleviate at least their fatigue of more than a year caused by working under great pressure, inadequate conditions and infrastructure, facing physical and mental exhaustion, which has obviously left trauma and pain that will take time to recover.

A considerable number of doctors and health technicians are no longer among us. They sacrificed their lives healing the infected patients. We must not forget the medical staff who survived this challenge, as well as those who lost their lives throughout this pandemic, and I hope we will find most appropriate way to support them or their families.

The transition from pandemic conditions to more normal working conditions was not easy. Despite similarities, the spread and behavior in response to the pandemic had its own specifics in each country. The unpredictable course of the pandemic and the consequences of this infection were and still remain its main features. This aspect complicated the treatment process from a preventive organizational point of view, as well as from curative one. However, these were not the only aggravating circumstances.

The healthcare workers had to cope with these uncertainties, who apart from their professional work, they were responsible for the instructions and treatment of the patient. They were often in a difficult position when they had to mitigate the effects of the initial organizational chaos; the consequence of weak capacity of healthcare system, in particular public health (preventive); lack of experience and of adequate staff to deal with this pandemic in most of the territory of this country, as well as risking patients’ and their own lives by making individually, collectively and organizationally wrong decisions and judgments. The inadmissible cacophony of the treatment of the disease should not be overlooked, as well as the confrontation with the consequences of a ‘quasi- scientific’ mentality with ‘fatalist unscientific’ opinion of some doctors. This indicates the need to refocus on the validity of science, education and building professional career. Even though most of healthcare staff was supportive in scientific principles, at the beginning of the pandemic some of us did not follow the basic ethics of the profession, fact-based treatment (EBM). The delay of vaccine supply and the impact of media regarding the effect of vaccination on the second wave of the pandemic, repeated the consequences of the first wave even with greater intensity. Even in such a situation, our heroes, healthcare workers did their best to move on to a normal health situation, as well as a stable economic, educational and social situation. For this reason, we should all be grateful and say: “THANK YOU!” to all healthcare workers, starting from

the team of frontline health workers led by Dr. Ilir and his colleagues at the Infectious Diseases Clinic, those of the Institute of Public Health, other Covid centers in the capital city and in all medical centers in the country, as well as the tireless contribution of all other doctors. It seems that we have won this battle but it is not over yet. Therefore, in the future, the minimum sign of gratitude for this effort will be the observance of preventive measures according to the instructions.

We are all aware that failure and mistakes in managing this pandemic will not be called as such if we learn adequate lessons from them. I hope that health and government policy makers have learned the right lessons. Healthcare workers as well as citizens need a review of all health segments to ensure a sustainable system, prepared for unexpected situations and to provide services that enhance our dignity, safety and health.

𝐀𝐳𝐢𝐬 𝐊. 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐳𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐢

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