The Israeli delegation’s objective was to help local Romanian health care teams cope with the high levels of illness caused by the fourth wave of the COVID-19 now engulfing the nation.
An Israeli delegation of five physicians headed by Dr. Rami Sagi, Deputy Head of the Hospital Division of the Israeli Ministry of Health, traveled to Bucharest, Romania recently at the invitation of Israel's Ambassador to Romania, David Saranga. Dr. Eyal Fuchs, a senior physician in the Pulmonary Institute of Rambam Health Care Campus and Director of COVID-19 Department A, as well as senior medical staff from Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Medical Centers, were part of the delegation.
Upon their arrival, the delegation was greeted by the senior government officials, including Dr. Raed Arafat, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who heads the Department for Emergency Situations. The delegation toured hospitals in Bucharest, as well as several field hospitals established in the nearby suburbs. Romanians have great regard for the Israeli health care community’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Israeli delegation’s visit received widespread media attention in the local press.
According to Dr. Fuchs, "Romanians are currently at the peak of morbidity in the fourth wave – they have over 5,000 confirmed cases every day, with the number of deaths at 500 to 600 per day. The burden on hospitals is evident. While they use modern medicines, advanced equipment, and widely used treatment protocols, these measures are not sufficient.”
The Israeli delegation on Romanian soil in interviews with the local media, alongside the Israeli ambassador to Romania. Photography: Rambam HCC.
Dr. Fuchs explained that although entire emergency departments have been converted into COVID-19 treatment centers, patients who have recovered often remain hospitalized in these centers because there is no well-developed system of community medicine. Doctors in the community are not obligated to continue treatment in accordance with the guidelines followed by hospital doctors. As a result, there is tremendous overcrowding in the hospitals and a lack of organization, which affects the quality of care and results in higher mortality rates.
Dr. Fuchs added, "Romania has a particularly active protest movement against vaccines, which has contributed to extremely low vaccination rates despite the Government’s aggressive vaccination campaign – much like the one we have here in Israel. Our goal is to help the health care teams defeat the current wave of COVID-19. We will soon leave Romania, and I hope that we have been able to contribute, in some way, to the Romanian people's handling of this vicious disease, and thus to strengthen, even more, the deep relationship between our two countries.”