Jesús Ponce, president of Novartis in Spain.
Thanks to the collaborative spirit of public and private institutions, the health sector has been able to face one of the greatest difficulties in recent times: the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This trust-based union has drawn a “hopeful scenario” for the future, which will make it possible to stabilize the health situation and start on the path of economic recovery.
This is how Jesús Ponce, president of Novartis in Spain, considers it, who, with his reflection, joins the Special Lessons of Covid-19, a document promoted by Medical Writing where the main actors from different areas of society analyze what this has meant pandemic since its stage in March 2020.
What balance do you make of the management of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic?
Collectively as a society, we have had to deal with a extraordinary and unprecedented public health crisis, with a high and tragic cost in human lives, and a very significant negative economic impact. This complex situation that we have experienced has highlighted the importance of having a strong healthcare system, cohesive and innovative, both for the health of each citizen and for the proper functioning and resilience of our society and our economy.
In addition, despite the difficulties that the health sector has faced, both public and private institutions have maintained a spirit of collaboration that has reinforced the trust of society as a whole in medicine and its professionals. This collaboration and this trust leave us a hopeful scenario thanks to the good results of the vaccination campaign in our country, which has to allow us to definitively stabilize the health situation and begin to walk the path of economic recovery.
What do you think have been the strongest points of Spanish health when it comes to coping with the pandemic? And the weak?
Throughout the pandemic, the performance of Spanish healthcare has been sustained thanks to the dedication and tenacity of all its professionals. Especially the health personnel, who has been on the front line against Covid-19 and next to the people who have suffered the most.
“The performance of Spanish healthcare has been sustained thanks to the dedication and tenacity of all its professionals”
Our healthcare has also had the ability to reimagine continuously the ways of collaboration between the different agents of the health system to strengthen and continue to offer solutions based on science, research and innovation. This has also taught us the importance of improving these structures, to make them more direct, better connect them with the environment, and speed up research.
Is Spain ready to face a new pandemic for the future?
To be prepared, we must first ask ourselves another question that would precede this one: What have we learned from this pandemic? Only through full awareness and shared responsibility will we be able to be better prepared as a society.
However, after this health crisis, we now undoubtedly have better tools such as cooperation between companies, institutions and individuals; the resilience to adapt to complex situations such as isolation and social distancing; and the unavoidable enhancement of scientific knowledge with the constant contribution of data and innovation in order to accelerate the pace of scientific research that has been essential to deal with this virus.
What personal learning does the Covid-19 pandemic leave for you?
On a social level, I think we have all learned the value of science and innovation to be a catalyst for advances in our society, our health and our economy.
On a personal level, one of the main lessons I have learned is the very high component of solidarity that underlies Spanish society, which has been shown in the commendable attitude of our health professionals and, as a whole, in the high levels of vaccination of the population compared to other countries. We have learned a lot on a personal level, as a company and as a sector thanks to this pandemic, but we have to be open to continue learning. We are convinced that the future is to continue working in collaboration with public and private actors. Working in silos makes less sense now than ever, together we are much stronger.
“Confinement has accelerated our digitization process and helped us advance our flexible work policy in record time.”
As a company, lockdown has allowed us to accelerate our digitization process and it has helped us implement and advance the flexible work policy in record time. Measures that we had to implement in eight months, we started them in just one. We have made decisions these months with prudence as an essential value and we are convinced that remote work is a reality that has come to stay. During all this time we have faced the great challenge of activating in all our collaborators adaptive capacity and resilience despite not being physically close.
The collaborators who are part of the Novartis team in Spain and those from all over the world have adapted to the changes that the virus has brought about and we have verified that we work in a flexible company, that adapts to changes and that is capable of maintaining its purpose and its commitment to society despite the difficult circumstances we have experienced.
Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader be consulted with any health-related question with a healthcare professional.