Back Committees of the Visegrad Countries Dealing with Health-related Issues Held a Video Conference on 18 May 2021

At the initiative of Tomasz Latos, the Chair of the Health Committee of the Polish Szejm, V4 parliamentary committees dealing with health-related issues held a video conference on 18 May 2021. All the relevant committees of the Parliamentary Chambers of each V4 country were represented at the virtual meeting. The Hungarian National Assembly was represented by dr. József Kovács, Vice Chairman of the Committee on Social Welfare.

The two main items of the event’s agenda were the current COVID-19 situation in the Visegrad Countries and options for joint action, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems.

The video conference was opened by Elżbieta Witek, the Marshal of the Polish Szejm, who, in her introduction, highlighted the efficient mutual exchanges of information and experience between V4 countries, and the ongoing consultations and development of mutual solutions. With respect to the decreasing trends of the third wave of the pandemic, she recalled that the implementation of the Polish Presidency’s slogan “Back on track” is well underway.

The discussion of the first item on the agenda was launched by an introduction by the Polish Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski, who, besides giving an overview of the pandemic situation in Poland, pointed out that the Polish Government is now focusing on the restoration of public health, the rehabilitation and treatment of people recovering from COVID-19, and other elements accelerating full recovery. Furthermore, he presented two decisive elements of pandemic management in Poland: the establishment of temporary COVID-19 hospitals, and the application of IT solutions in the home monitoring of people infected with the coronavirus. Dr. József Kovács, the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Social Welfare first described the experiences of Hungary, identifying the greatest possible extent of vaccination coverage of the population as the key element of protection, and also highlighted that, due to the wide-ranging application of vaccines, almost 5 million people in Hungary have already received at least their first vaccine. Moreover, he provided a brief overview of health-related issues covered by the programme of the Hungarian V4 Presidency starting in July 2021.

As regards the second item on the agenda, the delegations first listened to the address of Anna Goławska, the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Health in Poland, who gave insight into the Polish rehabilitation programme, the process of transforming the Polish healthcare system, and the way digital solutions are applied in the country. In his contribution, dr. József Kovács outlined the national vaccination programme of Hungary, the innovative technological solutions applied within the framework of the programme and in primary care, and with regard to rehabilitation, he highlighted the establishment of the Post-COVID Outpatient Network of the Clinical Centre of the University of Debrecen with the aim of providing examinations, care and rehabilitation to patients suffering from symptoms related to the COVID-19 infection.

The video conference was concluded by the speech of Tomasz Latos, who underlined the fact that, although the actions taken by the V4 countries to manage the pandemic are not always the same, and experiences may also differ, we are all facing the same problem which we cannot overcome without the cooperation of the countries and the development of shared solutions.