World Health Day: Statement by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides


Co-operators: Photographer: Xavier Lejeune European Union, 2020 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, on World Health Day, our thoughts are with everyone around the world affected by the unprecedented health crisis we are experiencing. Our thoughts are with those suffering, the family and friends of those we have lost and the many millions around the world whose lives have had to drastically change.

Today, as every day, our thoughts are also with the brave healthcare workers in the EU and around the world. Now, more than ever, we have cause to honour and salute the some 4.5 million nurses and midwives across the EU.

I speak to you directly by saying that your tireless efforts during the coronavirus pandemic is inspiring and encouraging to us all.

I also commend the doctors, some 1.9 million of you across the EU, who continue to put yourselves on the front line treating patients.

Our hospitals, clinics, and institutions also function thanks to the 4.1 million healthcare assistants providing direct personal care and assistance to patients and residents.

It is important that you, our healthcare workers, be protected from the risk of infection. By launching the EU joint procurements, we are supporting Member States in gaining access to more personal protective equipment for hand, body, eye and respiratory protection. As an additional safety net, we have proposed creating a rescEU stockpile, a common European reserve of personal protective equipment and reusable masks.

In order to ramp up production of such equipment, we have adopted decisions on revised harmonised standards. This will help companies to manufacture the items without compromising on our health and safety standards, and especially without undue delays.

I know that you are being put under unprecedented pressure and many hospitals are overburdened. To help ease some of this pressure, we have issued practical guidance to Member States to encourage and facilitate cross-border treatment of patients and the deployment of medical staff.

Amongst some of the best tools to fight this virus and protect patients are your knowledge and expertise. This is why we are operating a clinical management support system to support you in exchanging your knowledge and clinical cases across the EU.

But joy can also be brought in difficult times. I am heartened to see every evening the windows open and hear the loud applause and cheers from people across Europe, and now the world, to honour all the frontline workers – the nurses, doctors, therapists, healthcare assistants, and  housekeeping staff.

Thank you.


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  1. very impressive, knowledgeable statement by commissioner Stella Kyriakides including explaining the impact, necessity to protect health care workers and needy to maintain a stockpile etc. But she only made awareness to only EU region, I don’t know in which situation she quoted to limited region since the whole world is facing pandemic! It c’ld be more to keep at high to aware all humankind if she quoted the statement to entire world! This is my personal feel after I read this statement. if any mistake in my comment on questioning mode, please be excused!

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