A comparison of health system responses to COVID-19 in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in 2020

Last Updated: decembrie 18, 2023Categories: Arhivă

This article compares the health system responses to COVID-19 in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania from February 2020 until the end of 2020. It explores similarities and differences between the three countries, building primarily on the methodology and content compiled in the COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor (HSRM). We find that all three countries entered the COVID-19 crisis with common problems, including workforce shortages and underdeveloped and underutilized preventive and primary care. The countries reacted swiftly to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, declaring a state of emergency in March 2020 and setting up new governance mechanisms. The initial response benefited from a centralized approach and high levels of public trust but proved to be only a short-term solution. Over time, governance became dominated by political and economic considerations, communication to the public became contradictory, and levels of public trust declined dramatically. The three countries created additional bed capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the first wave, but a greater challenge was to ensure a sufficient supply of qualified health workers. New digital and remote tools for the provision of non-COVID-19 health services were introduced or used more widely, with an increase in telephone or online consultations and a simplification of administrative procedures. However, the provision and uptake of non-COVID-19 health services was still affected negatively by the pandemic. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed pre-existing health system and governance challenges in the three countries, leading to a large number of preventable deaths.

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