SEEHN Secretariat organized the First Regional Webinar “Primary Healthcare as main gatekeeper and crucial systemic element in the COVID-19 containment”, on 26 October 2020.

This regional event is part of the project “Strong nurses for strong health systems and a healthier world” that is mainly funded by CEI and implemented by the SEEHN Secretariat in very close collaboration with SEEHN six Member States. 

Around 35 participants from BiH, MDA, MKD, MNE, SRB,  CEI representatives and experts from the National Institute of Public Health from Italy’ and Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases’ and from the Istituto Superiore di Sanita’ joined online.

Nurses are one of the core pillars of the health systems and are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response – providing care and playing a critical role in emergency risk reduction, preparedness and response. Primary health care nurses are often the first ones to get in direct contact with potential COVID-19 positive patients providing guidance and collecting samples for the diagnostic. They also provide the essential care for the patients, they coordinate efforts with other health professionals and other members of the response team during emergencies. Without well-prepared and protected healthcare staff, there is no effective response to health threats.

Participants contributed to discussions on the primary health care crucial role as gatekeeper and first line contact with potential COVID-19 patients.

Discussions focused on the ways to bridge the gap between nurses, patients and GPs and or hospitals in order to enhance community containment and to improve COVID-19 case-management. One of the highlighted nurses’ roles was on how to strengthen the prevention, promotion and advocacy work of the nurses.          

The COVID-19 pandemic is still not entirely known, evidence is gathered on the way and it is essential to have a regional platform to share experience. Every piece of information counts, any new way of doing things matters to improve efforts against COVID19.