The pandemic came and completely changed the lives of the Portuguese people and it was in technology that they found a safe haven to stay connected. Technology and communications have taken on a pivotal role and have become essential, for uniting the Portuguese people, for developments in health and education, and for guaranteeing the continuity of businesses.
Current circumstances have increased the responsibility of Altice Portugal, the leader in the telecommunications sector, returning it to the field to contribute to meeting the needs arising from the pandemic. The Curry Cabral Hospital, belonging to the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa, and the Hospital dos Covões, belonging to the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, were chosen to continue this mission. By donating dozens of items of telecommunications equipment, Altice Portugal will ensure the necessary technology so that hospitalized patients, prevented from receiving visits and deprived of external contact, can keep in touch with, and be closer to their family and friends.
"This house belongs to all of us. It belongs to all Portuguese people."
The words are from Dr. Rosa Valente de Matos, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa, who admits that donated equipment is increasingly a necessity. "This offer is undoubtedly important. I can only thank you, on behalf of patients and professionals, this initiative, which is so valuable in complementing everything we do. Thank you for your effort, for coming here, for your availability and for listening to us."
Put people in contact. "We started these programs with some hospital centers about a year ago, in the first state of emergency", says Alexandre Fonseca, Executive President of Altice Portugal. "And we have never stopped, because we want to contribute in some way and because we know that technology brings people together". In fact, probably the day immediately before the state of emergency, many Portuguese people were unaware of the impact of technology and communications on their lives, he acknowledges.
Although, at first glance, this seems like this only affects patients, it also has an impact on the medical community, reveals Alexandre Fonseca, based on experiences and feedback obtained in the field. The pandemic has demonstrated the conditions and pressure which all professionals in the health sector are subject to, ending up also being away from their families. Having an alternative mechanism, which they can use to keep in touch with family is also essential. "All of us are now more aware of the importance of the work of health professionals."
Bring families closer together. "Tablets are going to be an asset for communication between patients and family members. Especially for the nursing team, who handle this daily, and who have had to experience a lot of farewells between patients and family members. An extremely distressing moment, but it is fundamental to guarantee some humanity in our care ", shares the Hospital Assistant Physician of Internal Medicine, Dr. Vera Bernardino. Dr. Rosa Valente de Matos recalls a case of success, an example of hope, a small "miracle", as she calls it. “An elderly man who had given up and no longer spoke. Nurse Susana, responsible for the Closer to You project, made a call to his family and he heard his granddaughter singing. For the first time, he opened his eyes, smiled, and after three or four days in our care, was discharged and went home.”
“We are here, we have always been here, and we will continue." This is Altice Portugal's commitment to the country and to the Portuguese people, and it is under this motto that numerous actions have been carried out in the scope of health and social responsibility in these times we are living in. In addition to initiatives to combat the isolation of patients with COVID-19 or chronic patients at risk, Altice Portugal joined the GNR, within the scope of the ‘65 Longe + Perto’ (Far + Near) program, and through video calls promoted the contact of elderly people with their family. In addition, the donation of equipment to children from low-income households, to guarantee distance learning, minimizing inequalities in access to education also stands out. As a socially responsible company, Altice Portugal wants to continue to support all Portuguese people who find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation.