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OptiMedium June 2020

About OptiMedis and our projects – Germany

Help during the pandemic: If you want to act quickly, you need good local infrastructure

A pandemic like the one that we are experiencing at the moment requires swift action. Efficient structures adapted to the needs of the regional population are a requirement for this. Gesundes Kinzigtal (Healthy Kinzigtal) and Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis (Healthy Werra Meissner District), the regional management societies in which OptiMedis holds shares, have acted swiftly in this crisis. They have taken different types of action in the shortest possible time to support the population and medical workers during the corona crisis. The measures taken vary by need and location. They  bear witness to the importance of an infrastructure that is capable of intervention, and which can operate independently of drawn-out bureaucratic processes, but in each case in collaboration, with the public healthcare service, the municipalities, the districts, healthcare stakeholders, and social facilities, and which is orientated towards the health of the population.

Gesundes Kinzigtal and partners implement coronavirus outpatient clinic

GK CoronaThomas Geppert (Mayor of Wolfach), Janina Stunder (Gesundes Kinzigtal), Dr. Stephan Ziehms (Commissioner for emergency practice), Martin Wetzel (physici-an’s network MQNK) und Dr. Christoph Löschmann (Gesundes Kinzigtal) in the coronavirus outpatient clinic. Photo: Patrick Merck In Gesundes Kinzigtal a range of measures were implemented recently in order to suppress the spread of the virus, to support doctors, and to help patients. For example, Gesundes Kinzigtal and the MQNK doctors’ network together with the emergency practice officers of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of Baden-Württemberg united in support of the Wolfach site, the running and operation of a testing site, and a coronavirus outpatient clinic for COVID-19 patients. At this specially equipped coronavirus outpatient clinic, patients with suspected respiratory infections or flu-like symptoms are examined by a family doctor or a paediatrician after referral. For its partners, the branch also has procured strictly necessary practice material such as masks, gloves, protective clothing as well as hand and surface sanitiser, and it has supported the establishment of video appointments. Gesundes Kinzigtal offered pharmacies to take over medication trips.

Members of Gesundes Kinzigtal as well as other interested parties have had the opportunity of discussing their concerns, fears, and questions about coronavirus on the phone with a doctor and to use exercise videos provided by coaches while the field of training was closed to the health world.

Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis: Video Consultations and offers for older people

Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis has negotiated free video consultations with doctors and other actors in the healthcare sector, and all doctors and psychotherapists as well as other network partners such as midwives and speech therapists. A health advice hotline provided information to both healthcare players and the general public.

Events, trainings, and courses, e.g. about caring for family members, have been offered digitally and there were weekly sports videos to join in and recipes for healthy snacks. Those who needed help and those who wanted to offer it could contact Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis, where assistance was coordinated. Given that a large number of people have been affected by loneliness during the pandemic, Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis has distributed postcards featuring motivating images and text. These could be sent to elderly people (in care homes or at home) with a personalised message, for example.

Another important concern was the provision of food items to poorer people: In view of the discontinuation of the “Tafel” (food bank) offers for fear of infection, Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis used a charitable organisation to submit an application, which was approved, to “Aktion Mensch” to be allowed to purchase food items and to use volunteers to deliver it to those in need.