Policy responses for Malta - HSRM

Malta


Policy responses for Malta

5. Governance

5.1 Governance

The GOVERNANCE of the health system with regard to COVID-19 relates to pandemic response plans and the steering of the health system to ensure its continued functioning. It includes emergency response mechanisms, as well as how information is being communicated, and the regulation of health service provision to patients affected by the virus.

Over the last few weeks nearly all the measures and legal instruments through which the community wide social distancing measures, travel ban and closure of most retail outlets and other services have now been reversed.  As of the 30th June, the law declaring Public Health Emergency has been repealed (LN 243_2020 PUBLIC HEALTH ACT (CAP. 465)) together with all the other repealing legislations (https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/legal-notice-enabling-travel-to-and-from-22-countries-published.798852). See more in Transition measures: Physical distancing.

A pandemic response plan was in place prior to the pandemic, which was updated in February 2020. This is based upon a command and control structure where the Superintendent of Public Health holds legislative authority and makes recommendations to a Cabinet Interministerial Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health.

Legislative measures related to COVID-19 have primarily been adopted with the framework of the Public Health Act. In accordance with the Public Health Act, a public health emergency was declared on 1st April with effect from 7th March 2020, the day when the first imported case of COVID-19 was detected in Malta (LN 115 of 2020: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=30052&l=1).

Legal notices were published with urgency in relation to the public health measures issued by the health authorities that are responsible for social distancing measures, closure of public places, non-essential retail outlets and lock down for the most vulnerable.

The procurement of PPEs, medical equipment and all the requirements related to the pandemic response is taking place through a single centre to endure adequate planning for critical resources and accountability of utilisation.

While international reporting obligations and coordination of surveillance activities lie with the Infectious Diseases Unit, a core unit within the pandemic response team, the communication strategy is driven by a Health communication team within the pandemic response in liaison with a central government communications team.

Sources:

Legal notices in Malta: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=30026&l=1   

Times of Malta. (04/03/20). Public health emergency declared over COVID-19.  https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/public-health-emergency-declared-over-covid-19.783176