Pavlos S. Tamvakis (CPO): a chat on effective leadership in a pandemic

Pavlos S. Tamvakis, CPO at Mediterraneo Hospital talks about his journey over the years and being an effective leader during the outbreak of COVID-19

Pavlos S. Tamvakis, CPO at Mediterraneo Hospital has got a rice experience of 15 years in the healthcare department. His career started  in the pharmaceutical industry conducting imports and exports for pharmaceutical drugs in the European Union (EU). After being in the industry for a few years, Tamvakis moved into the medical device sector, where he was introduced to Mediterraneo Hospital. “I first  came to provide Mediterraneo Hospital with some medical devices, and they offered me an opportunity to set up a purchasing department for the hospital, which I have now been running for the past eight years,” says Tamvakis.

Talking about the essential traits of an effective leader, Tamvakis believes that “during these difficult times that we are going through due to the pandemic, a good leader must be in complete touch of everything that is going on. First and foremost we are constantly getting new updates regarding the virus and how it grows and infects people. As a result this affects our jobs and being the first line of defence, people want to go to someone that is in a positive state of mind and knows how to handle a difficult situation. During this time, I believe that our leadership has been quite effective. More than 400 people are working here and none of us have got infected by the virus. So I believe that all the protocols that have been set up from our administration have been successful. This is what effective leadership is, to set up and implement efficient guidelines that are capable of protecting the employees.”

The impact of COVID-19

When it comes to the impact of the virus so far, Tamvakis explains that it has changed a lot of the hospital’s operations. “First of all the way we behave on a day to day basis, a lot of work is put into covering the needs concerning personal protective equipment (PPE). As suppliers also have manufacturing issues with the increase in demand, we have had to think again and again about our way of ordering materials, so that challenges of shortages can be reduced.” 

Tamvakis mentioned that this shortage is not just in Athens, but all over the world. “The needs grew very quickly, for example we bought 110,000 masks last year. This year we have already bought more than 150,000 masks, and I suppose that reaching the end of the year , it will be doubled. Due to this increase in demand, the cost of  these products has also increased. We used to buy masks at two cents, at one point they were being sold at 90 cents, now we’re buying at 10 cents. As a result at the peak times, masks were five times more expensive to buy and the demand was two times more in quantity, which is a huge expense for something that is so basic.” Tamvakis says that this was – and still is – the main challenge for the hospital. 

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