Rafael Cofiño, General Director of Public Health and main ideologist of the Principality’s anticovid strategy since the pandemic broke out two years ago, yesterday formalized his cessation in a surprising way, after raising his departure “from the first political line” to the counselor Pablo Fernandez on the eve, in the middle of Christmas day. Cofiño issued a farewell letter minutes after the regional government announced his relief by Lidia Clara Rodriguez, who until now served as general director of Health Policy and Planning. He leaves politics to turn “where the teams are in the greatest rush right now”, in the technical work of Public Health.
“I’m not leaving. My proposal is to be able to continue linked to the General Directorate, and support at a technical and committed level where it is now most necessary “, explained Cofiño himself in a letter addressed to his colleagues from Public Health, the Health Service (Sespa) and “Of the sectors with which we have worked these two years”. Until now, the strategist of the autonomous anticovid policy warns that “We still have some complicated and busy weeks ahead, and what I want is to be side by side working with them and helping them where they best have it”. It also ensures that “We have always addressed all the complicated situations of the pandemic with honesty and rigor”.
The replacement of Rafael Cofiño by Lidia Clara Rodríguez will be official at the next meeting of the Governing Council. “This wave has not been the most serious, but probably one of the most difficult to manage,” says the former general director of Public Health, who predicts that “the hard work will come at the end of January, when we leave again. this wave and it is necessary to continue generating strategies, alliances and collaborations between all sectors to work for a green, safe and healthy Asturias ”.
Cofiño, in addition to expressing his general gratitude to all with whom he has had to work “in these two intense years”, assures that he feels fully accomplished in this work. “For a general health worker like I am, I believe that there has been and there will be nothing more important than having been the general director of Public Health of this autonomous community and having worked, from this position and with this team.” Its work acquired relevance, even national, because it was the face of the good results that Asturias had in the battle against the coronavirus after the first wave and when it became the first autonomous community to reach the indicators of the so-called new normal.
He ends his farewell letter with an eloquent expression in Latin, “Facian ut potero”, which means “I have done what I could”. In an interview with LA NUEVA ESPAÑA, a newspaper that belongs to this group, Prensa Ibérica, published on June 6, he declared: “I had nights in front of the computer to start crying and say: ‘I can’t take it anymore’”. In his environment, throughout the course of the health crisis, his dedication to strenuous work, his excellent character and his ability to act as a “glue” of teams of heterogeneous composition have stood out. “Rafa was losing his health in this endeavor,” said a person who has worked closely with Dr. Cofiño last night.
In the message to his colleagues, he reveals that he transferred his decision to the Health Minister the day before yesterday Saturday: “As you will understand, it has been a few months of very intense work. For all this, and knowing that no one is essential, I think it is time to propose a replacement and for other people to assume political leadership ”.
The resignation in the middle of Christmas, and with the sixth wave of unstoppable spread of infections, could raise suspicions that government sources see absurd. “He is exhausted and for a long time he wanted to step aside, abandoning political responsibility,” explain the aforementioned sources, who emphasize: “No suspicion. If there were discrepancies, he would not stay at the Ministry working ”.
But why do you communicate on a Sunday during the Christmas holidays? “It is simply the moment in which he decided that he could not take it anymore,” said sources from the Asturian Executive yesterday, according to which “it has been two very tough years and he is going to continue at the foot of the canyon but in the technical and not political part , that is a guarantee for us ”.
Assuming that fatigue has been an important factor – perhaps a key factor – in the decision taken, members of the Principality’s teams point out that Rafael Cofiño was not in favor of these latest regional restrictions on hospitality that will come into effect this next midnight. In social networks he also made a subtle wink to those who criticized the new imposition of the mask in interior spaces. For example, he spread a message from the epidemiologist Ignacio Rosell where it was emphasized that “much less than 10%, even less than 1% of COVID-19 infections are outdoors. The serious problem is not there (except for crowds) but indoors where the mask is no longer used ”.
His substitute, Lidia Clara Rodríguez, was in charge of the General Directorate of Health Policy and Planning. Specialist in Family and Community Medicine, he worked for several years in Madrid before returning to Asturias in 2013 to take over the direction of Health Care for the health area of Avilés, which he held until 2019.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.