Civil Protection

Porto City Hall is shortlisted for Public Policies Prize as regards earlier screening of Covid-19 in nursing homes

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Miguel Nogueira

Porto City Hall is among the five finalists of the IPPS-Iscte Public Policies Prize. This recognition is the result of the Municipal programme to early detection of Covid-19 in Residential Structures for Elderly People in the city of Porto, which provided screening and testing to all beneficiaries and care workers of retirement homes within the Municipality of Porto. The winners will be announced on 20th November, in an online ceremony.

This municipal programme was presented in May, by Mayor Rui Moreira and it was the first of its kind to be implemented in the country, with field work taking place in March. The programme was coordinated by Porto City Hall and provided free testing as regards Covid-19 to all beneficiaries and respective employees in all nursing homes in Porto, dully accredited or not. This process was validated by the São João Hospital Centre.

This initiative also included the provision of facilities to accommodate and separate negative from positive tested people, in a clean and safe environment, with medical assistance, specialized assistance, nutrition and safety needs and all high end necessary care that Residential Structures for Elderly People (ERPI) require.

During the first wave of the virus spread, thousands of kits, scarce in the Portuguese market, were donated by the Fosun Foundation and Gestifute to the Municipality of Porto; in addition, professionals from the Eastern Porto Health Centres delivered the necessary support regarding sample taking. Lab support was delivered by the São João University Hospital Centre and by the Vila Nova de Gaia/ Espinho Hospital Centre, also in coordination with local health authorities.

Transport needs were ensured by the Battalion of Porto Firefighters and Movijovem provided the Youth Hostel as a temporary residential facility to back up the initiative by the Municipality of Porto and hence accommodated elderly who tested negative for Covid-19, who did not have a proper place to stay.

The IPPS-Iscte Public Policies Prize, organised by the Iscte – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and by its Social and public Policies Institute, acknowledges the best public administration practices in Portugal, in the categories regarding central administration and municipal projects.

Besides Porto, the municipalities of Cascais, Loures, Barreiro and Matosinhos are part of the list of finalists.

“We intend to raise awareness of the best practices that are implemented in our country, and at the same time, acknowledge and appreciate the good work that is being done and that can be replicated to other entities”, states Ricardo Paes Mamede, president of IPPS - Instituto para as Políticas Públicas e Sociais do Iscte, in a press release.

“The only way to reduce the catastrophic impact of this pandemic is to implement really effective measures, economic, social, educational and cultural wise”, Pais Mamede concludes.

This 2nd edition of the “IPSS – Iscte Políticas Públicas” Prize includes two categories: Local Administration (City Halls and Parish Councils) and Departments of Central Administration and Public Institutes.

The jury is chaired by Maria Asensio, professor at Iscte, and has assessed a total of 75 applications.