Public Policy Dynamics Spain #8

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in Spain

Total COVID-19 cases:3,456,886
14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:198
14-day change:+49
Total COVID-19 deaths:77,496
14-day rise:1,317
  • The Spanish government has announced the first allocations of European recovery funds to projects related to digitalisation and the environment. In the midst of a tense election campaign in Madrid, the government focuses attention on the launch of multiple social strategies and the announcement of increased funding for the regions.
  • The health minister, Cariolina Darias, has this week expressed her ministry's commitment to strengthening the national health system, announcing the early implementation of a new primary care strategy and the allocation of increased resources for the development of health plans.
  • The pace of vaccination has accelerated in recent weeks, with more than 13,909,964 doses administered and 3,768,015 with the full regimen. The state of emergency ends on 9 May and there is uncertainty as to whether certain mobility restrictions and curfews can be maintained.

Politics

  • Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has detailed in Congress and before the Interministerial Conference (13 April) the main lines of the Plan “Spain Can”, aimed at allocating the European "Next Generation" recovery funds.
  • The minister of finance, Maria Jesús Montero, wanted to emphasise the equitable distribution and co-governance of European funds between the State and the regions, which will manage 58% of the total EU resources planned for 2021 (in total, €2,112 million have already been allocated to the regions). In this regard, she has explained that the Government is already launching initiatives and sectoral conferences, with, for example, “€576 million earmarked to finance sanitation and purification projects in municipalities of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants; €400 million for the MOVES III Plan, which consists of direct aid for the purchase of electric or hybrid vehicles, as well as their recharging infrastructure; €20 million for victims of gender violence; €730 million for the care economy and equality policies; and €361 million for the requalification of the Spanish university system”.
  • The Congress has approved a motion on a Plan of Measures and Political Actions of the Government to combat the precarious employment situation of youth (22 April). The initiative urges the Government to "guarantee the effective promotion by the public authorities of the conditions for the participation of young people in political, economic, labour and social development". To this end, the Executive must develop the "specific government measures and actions to tackle the process of general precariousness suffered by the young population”, a situation now aggravated by the pandemic. In this regard, the minister of labour, Yolanda Díaz, in a meeting with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has stressed that the Ministry is already working on new labour legislation to meet these challenges.

 

Health

  • The Minister of Health Carolina Dariashas outlined the general lines of her Department for the current term of office before the Committee of Health at the Senate (20 April). As Darias explained, the Ministry's priority for these years will be to strengthen and expand the capacities of the National Health System, together with urgent attention to the pandemic caused by Covid-19 and the culmination of the vaccination process begun in December 2020. The Minister of Health explained that the aim of strengthening and reinforcing healthcare capacity will be to create a system of care that balances healthcare with prevention and health promotion activities.
  • Thus, the Strategic Framework for Primary and Community Care will be promoted as a matter of urgency, the development of the Chronicity Strategy will be tackled, and the Mental Health Strategy will be updated. In addition, a Plan for the Reorganisation and Consolidation of the network of reference centres (CSURs) with quality and equity will be developed, and the design of the Investment Plan for high-tech equipment in the National Health System, on which work is already underway, will be completed. Darias has advanced that the regulatory tool of the Law on Measures for the Equity, Universality and Cohesion of the National Health System will be available, the draft bill for which will be ready in the second quarter of 2021.

 

Covid-19

  • The President of the Government Pedro Sánchez has participated in the 27th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Andorra on21 April. Sánchez has stressed the Spanish Government's commitment to universal access to the vaccine, and has announced that Spain will send 7.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Latin America and the Caribbean through the COVAX multilateral mechanism and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation. This translates to a donation of between 5 and 10% of the total  vaccines received in 2021.
  • So far, Spain has carried out more than 38.6 million diagnostic tests since the beginning of the pandemic. The Public Health Commission, in which all the autonomous communities and the Ministry of Health are represented, has approved “Update 6” of the Vaccination Strategy, which reaffirms the priority of vaccinating people over 60 years of age. It establishes that vaccination will continue for people aged 70 to 79 years and those with very high-risk conditions prioritised with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), and, simultaneously, vaccination will continue with AstraZeneca for people aged 60 to 69 years. In addition, the Update notes that the first doses of the Janssen vaccine will be used in the 70-79 age group, following the completion of the new safety assessment conducted by the EMA.

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