Who is behind this initiative?
The original idea comes from Dr. Lýdia Říhová, an opposition Member of the Prague 3 Municipal District Assembly, who focuses on education a social policy. After the state of emergency was declared by the Czech government, it soon became clear there were systemic problems with protective equipment supplies. Dr. Říhová welcomed the nation-wide cloth masks campaign, but also believed more sophisticated equipment was necessary for professional use, particularly in health and social care. It was with this in mind, she decided to gather necessary data directly at the local level in Prague 3. Based on what she found, this website was set up and the initiative launched, of which Czech Red Cross became a partner. In general, nevertheless, anybody can be behind the initiative as long as he or she supports its cause and find a way to contribute to its success.
How the data acquired through the initial survey is and will be treated?
The survey data is presented only in aggregate form. Neither now, nor in the future will it be, under any circumstances, disclosed to third parties or used for commercial purposes. An e-mail address of the facility (place of care) was the only contact information required in the questionnaire (which was necessary to ensure data validity). For the purposes of the survey, any "entity" acting as a separate unit was considered as a "facility" (place of care). By completing and submitting the questionnaire, the respondents gaved their consent to the processing of the data provided.
We have not managed to take part in the initial survey; will there be another chance to draw attention to our situation?
At the moment, the initiative is focusing on arranging assistance. An additional survey taking place within a few weeks is not excluded, especially if health and social care providers express an interest.
Are the government and/or municipal authorities not doing enough? Why is involvement of the public necessary?
The purpose of the initiative is not a polemic with a deliberate political undertone. It relies on real data gathered "on the ground", among health and social services professionals operating in Prague 3. The data shows that more attention needs to be paid to the local level, particularly in regard to primary health care, whose providers are indeed confronted with acute material shortages and often feel overlooked.
Cannot they just use the cloth masks like every body else?
Cloth masks represent an important part of the set of measures against the pandemic that affect the population as a whole. However, their usability for professional purposes is limited. FFP2 and FFP3 respiratory masks provide a significantly higher level of protection. For professionals who are exposed to a high risk due to spending more time with potential carriers in a confined space, this makes literally a vital difference. Moreover, the FFP3 class protection is essential where aerosol generation occurs, e.g. in dental surgeries or dental hygiene clinics. Besides, masks alone are not enough. It is also necessary to help with procuring other types of protective equipment without which patients and clients cannot be properly cared for.
Why cannot they buy what they need by themeselves?
Due to several circumstances, a critical situation arose on both the supply and demand sides. Most care providers' revenues dropped significantly, while protective equipment prices grew exponentially, as stocks ran out and demand soared. The market situation was also affected by certain insufficiently thought-out administrative measures.
What is the point of continuing the initiative even after the state of emergency has ended?
It may seem to us, certainly, that with the end of the state of emergency and relaxation of special measures, the shortage of protective equipment loses its urgency. In fact, the exact opposite is true. For those who are even normally exposed to a higher level of risk than most of us, the danger of infection is more likely to be elevated. As the contact between people will become more frequent, they will grow less and less alert. The Czech authorities, moreover, have recently announced that they are effectively ending the distribution of personal protective equipment. The Front Line Protected initiative stems from the belief that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet ended and the situation in the Czech Republic has probably improved only temporarily. Based on other countries' experience, it can be assumed the Czech Republic will be hit by further waves of infection, in a similar manner as, for example, Singapore. Consequently, a gradual "return to normality" does not in itself diminish the importance of protection, at least not until an effective and widely available vaccine is ready.