UOL Leaders

UOL – In the pandemic, the private initiative took the lead in several situations. Did the Ministry of Health lack leadership?

Leandro Reis Tavares – I believe that the pandemic showed the real infrastructure, even the intellectual, of a country in terms of health. When covid hit us, our weaknesses built over decades were exposed. We need to be aware of this, train increasingly competent leaders and managers, both in the public and private sectors.

We need to understand the real needs of the population. Sometimes, the discussion is in an intellectual and ethereal field, which does not reach the pain of people who are in emergencies and cannot get care. In the private sector, we are guided by what our patients tell us.

During the pandemic, we took the initiative and connected with a set of hospitals in northern Italy, which were already suffering a lot from covid. We saw that we needed to prepare in a way that we were not yet able to see. So we never need to close an emergency.

Why hasn’t the pandemic left a legacy of greater cooperation between the public and private sectors?

I agree with you that there is room for partnership, I agree that Brazil lacks the formal construction of where this partnership can take place without being questioned or looking like a simple one-off donation. That formal space is missing.

Managing for the public power is sometimes very difficult. We do not participate in public institutions, when we make a commitment, we do it for free with private money. We have a great concern and we recognize that today many public managers make mistakes and the MP [Ministério Público] catch it, the police too.

The life of serious public managers is not easy either. I saw many being asked why they were buying masks and gloves at a price five times higher than normal. The whole world bought it this way. Often the public manager does not have the ability to negotiate, buys more expensive and ends up being run over by a series of investigations.

We are clear that the State’s control tools are important because we see bad things being caught every day, but it is challenging for the serious manager to manage public health.

But, it is a fact, we need to have formal environments where this partnership can take place in a more structured way and the private sector can collaborate more actively.

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