Coping with coronavirus
Govt to ensure enough supply of protective gears
25 Mar 2020, 00:48
The social affairs and health ministry has decided that, under the current emergency conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic, it is justified to use the medical materials and protective equipments stored under the state emergency stockpiling.
Through this measure, the Finnish state wants to ensure that there are enough protective gears to protect healthcare and social welfare professionals throughout the country, if the epidemic gets worse, said an official press release.
Protective equipments primarily mean personal protective equipments (PPEs) for healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as face masks and shields, respiratory protective devices, surgical masks, medical gowns, etc. These are stored both regionally and in emergency stocks.
The social affairs and health ministry has asked the National Emergency Supply Agency to decentralise medical materials and protective equipments to the five university hospital districts in Finland.
The hospital districts will coordinate the decentralisation and use of the materials in their own catchment areas based on need assessment. Each hospital district will also distribute the materials among the healthcare and social welfare services of the hospital districts, municipalities and joint municipal authorities in its catchment area.
In the first phase, each university hospital district (i.e. catchment area for highly specialised medical care) will receive a quantity of protective materials that is proportional to its population base. After that, the social affairs and health ministry will make decisions based on needs testing on the distribution of the materials.
According to the emergency plans of the hospital districts, different operators have basic stocks. Protective equipments are available throughout the country, but those can be transferred, if necessary, to a region where there are more cases of the disease than in other regions.
Other material preparations have also been made in Finland. With regard to some hospital medicines used in inpatient care for prolonged treatment of coronavirus infection, hospitals have already purchased larger stocks than are usual.
In addition to new equipments, Finland also has PPEs with expired dates but stored in good conditions under emergency stockpiling and tested by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in February 2020.
Personal protective equipments needed to protect against coronavirus infection are currently available on the international market through several channels. In addition, the possibility of launching the production of some protective materials in Finland is currently being explored.
Finland will join the Joint Procurement Agreement to procure medical countermeasures, an agreement concluded between the EU member states and the European Commission, as soon as possible.