GUIDEPPOST LOVES GOOD NEWS: Spain Gets “Sobresaliente” on Fight Against COVID-19

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by Rose Maramba


Dr. Hans Kluge: My dream is that of a society where no one is left behind. A WHO European Region where health is taken into account in major government policies to enable all people of all ages to live healthy lives. A Region where people-centered and sustainable public health and healthcare services are available to all people. 


That said, meet Dr. Kluge
World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, a Belgian national, is new to the World Health Organization as WHO Regional Director for Europe. Nominated by the WHO European Region’s governing body of 53 Member States on 17 September 2019, he was appointed to the post by the WHO Executive Board on 1 February 2020. Which doesn’t mean to say he’s new at WHO. He’s been around since 1999, joining the UN agency as TB and TB-HIV Project Manager at the WHO Country Office in the Russian Federation.  In Southeast Asia between 2004 and 2009, he was WHO Medical Officer for TB and then Team Leader for the three-disease (HIV, TB and malaria) unit, as well as a consultant to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on TB.

Dr Kluge

In 2009, Dr Kluge was Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health, and Special Representative of the Regional Director to Combat Multi/Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in the WHO Regional Office for Europe. A visionary who gets things done, Dr Kluge spearheaded the development of a new WHO European Region vision on health systems for prosperity and solidarity. He built strong partnerships on health system performance and reforms with the European Commission, OECD, the World Bank, GAVI, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, civil society and donors.

Not least, he has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium, serving in Somalia and Liberia.

Dr Kluge, who has worked around the world, has learned an important lesson as a child from his father, a traumatologist: “put patients’ needs at the centre,” as he would say in an interview with the European Patients Forum

A graduate from the Catholic University of Leuven in 1994, Dr Kruge describes himself in Twitter as “passionate about improving health for all. Dad, husband, runner.”

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic on 6 March 2020, Dr Kluge concluded his speech at the European Council’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, saying: “We are all in this together. Ultimately this is a big stress test. It is a stress test of the European value of solidarity, but also our individual, psychological resilience. How we pass this stress test will define European leadership today. You can count on WHO.”





Now THE tweet:

Hans Kluge


#COVID2019 Mission to Spain concluded yesterday: deeply impressed by heroism of frontline workers, solidarity of people and inspiring resolve of Government. Careful optimism as result of bold measures, innovative approaches & courageous decisions.


Benidorm: the famous beaches of Spain may still be empty due to the State of Alarm lockdown. But the Spaniards are cautiously optimistic that in the foreseeable future . . .

Today, 5 April 2020, Spain, moreover, woke up with comforting news: the flattening of the COVID-19 curve, the much-awaited slowdown of new contagions and deaths.

Indeed, the Spaniards’ response to strict – even harsh, like the near-total lockdown — government measures is exemplary, especially in view of their picaresque tendencies. The compliance with the measures is in the region of 90%.


Featured image (Collage): COVID-19/Martin Sanchez ;Hans Kluge, cropped/European Centre for Disease Control, CC BY2.0, frame supplied
Quote mark/Oakus53, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Twitter/Claudio Toledo, CC BY2.0
Benidorm/Jose A., CC BY2.0