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Title: Malta’s only acute public hospital service during COVID-19 : a diary of events from the first wave to transition phase
Authors: Cuschieri, Sarah
Falzon, Celia
Janulova, Lina
Agius, Stephen
Busuttil, Walter
Psaila, Noel
Farrugia, Karl
Debono, Joseph
Grech, Victor E.
Keywords: COVID-19 (Disease) -- Prevention -- Malta
Coronavirus infections -- Malta
Medical cooperation -- Malta
Hospital care -- Malta
Public health -- Malta
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Oxford Academic
Citation: Cuschieri, S., Falzon, C., Janulova, L., Aguis, S., Busuttil, W., Psaila, N.,...Grech, V. (2020). Malta’s only acute public hospital service during COVID-19: a diary of events from the first wave to transition phase. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 10.1093/intqhc/mzaa138.
Abstract: Introduction: COVID-19 has challenged healthcare systems worldwide. Some countries collapsed under surge conditions, while others (such as Malta) showed resilience. Public health measures in Malta quickly reined in COVID-19 spread. This review summarizes pandemic preparedness measures in Malta and the impact on routine services. Methods: A literature search was conducted using Google, Google Scholar and PubMed and by reviewing Maltese online newspapers. A comprehensive summary of internal operations conducted at Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) was made available. Results: A hospital ‘Incident Command Group’ was set up to plan an optimal COVID-19 response strategy. A ‘rapid response team’ was also created to cater for the logistics and management of supplies. A ‘COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre’ simulated different COVID-19 scenarios. All elective services were suspended and all staff were mandatorily trained in wearing personal protective equipment. Staff were also retrained in the care of COVID-19 patients. In preparation for potential admission surges, MDH underwent rapid expansion of normal and intensive care beds. Swabbing was ramped up to one of the highest national rates worldwide. The cost for hospital COVID-19 preparedness exceeded €100 million for Malta’s half a million population. Conclusion: Malta and its sole acute hospital coped well with the first wave with 680 cases and 9 deaths. The increased ability to deal with COVID-19 (a principally respiratory pathogen) will serve well for the anticipated combined annual influenza and the COVID-19 second wave this coming winter.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEMAMar
Scholarly Works - FacM&SAna

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