Call for action: Health services in the European region must adopt integrated care models to manage Post-Covid-19 Condition

Published online on the 22nd June 2022 in the The Lancet Regional Health – Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 216 million individuals in the European Region with more than 1.9 million deaths.1 Most countries have mobilised their resources to manage the waves of hospi- tal admissions and intensive care cases and to prioritise the vaccination effort to protect as many people as possi- ble against severe cases of COVID-19. The emergency response has had a major economic, health and social impact across societies in most of the countries of the European region. While the pandemic is far from over, the pressure on health systems is multiple: Not only do they have to treat the current COVID-19 cases, but also maintain and restore all other essential health services that have often been disrupted throughout the pandemic response, leading to substantial backlogs in many countries.2 Also, they need to provide for the per- sons suffering with persistent disabling symptoms of COVID-19, referred to as Post-Covid-19 Condition or “Long Covid”.3 The exact number of people affected is not clear, but published evidence indicates that approximately 10−20% of individuals with COVID-19 experience continued symptoms for weeks, months and even up to two years following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.3,4 This means that there are currently millions of individuals in the European region, struggling with this new condition affecting their function, vocation and quality of life.

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