Salvador Illa highlights the role of the Foreign Health service to avoid public health risks

The minister has affirmed that "within public health, a central element is External Health for the work they do in surveillance, control and prevention. An essential work of health protection." Illa has indicated that "one of the Government's priorities is the reinforcement of Health, understood as a public, universal, quality and equitable service", in its first public intervention after taking office as Minister of Health.

Public service recognized internationally

Foreign Health inspection services border the import of some 180,000 items per year of products for human use and consumption. Of these items, about 200 product alerts are generated that may pose a risk to human health.

"It is a surveillance and inspection model that has proved effective to the extent that countries around us have replicated," said the minister. In the case of exports, the actions of Foreign Health have contributed to raising the level of safety, quality and competitiveness of Spanish companies.

The Foreign Health service is made up of more than 600 healthcare professionals, including doctors, veterinarians, nurses, inspection technicians and support staff.

This public service also develops an important role in international vaccination. Together with the autonomous communities, it serves more than 325,000 travelers a year to whom it provides health recommendations and indications. Through the 115 centers that it has throughout Spain, they administer some 625,000 vaccines per year.

"The work of the Foreign Health Service is a quiet and discreet work but essential because it is constantly monitored to avoid risks to public health," said Minister Illa. "Our troops are prepared to act in the event of any alert or health incident that may arrive by ship or plane." An example is the more than 900 interventions that are carried out per year by medical personnel linked to health incidents at international borders and means of transport.

At this point, Salvador Illa has said that the Ministry is very aware of the evolution of the coronavirus detected in China. "I want to convey a message of tranquility and confidence in our health alert coordination system. Our country has resources and a good coordination system with the Autonomous Communities and we are prepared to act in case of any eventuality."

The Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) of the Ministry of Health is in permanent contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the rest of the EU countries to adopt the necessary measures for the prevention of any health risk for the population.

The Ministry of Health is continuously monitoring the situation of the coronavirus. The information is permanently updated and available to citizens through the web.

The minister has announced that, this morning, he will hold a new follow-up meeting with the Ministry team that will take place at CCAES, to analyze the situation of the outbreak with the latest available data.

Commendation and Health Cross

During the act of celebrating the 120th anniversary of External Health, the Ministry of Health has delivered the "Health Commendation" to the entire group of this service. In addition to the recognition of a general nature, five of its professionals have been distinguished for their seniority and special dedication with the delivery of the Health Cross, the highest Spanish civil decoration in this area.

Specifically, the decorations have fallen to Elena de Vicente Martínez, Fernando Alda Fernández, Jesús Vallejo Hernández, Julia Navarro Perales and Juan Luis Gorostiza Guerricaechevería.

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