Friday, 18 February 2022

Maternity Hospitals in Croatia Rank Low in Latest Research

February 18, 2022 - A recent research seeking to determine the quality of the childbirth experience during the pandemic in several European countries has exposed maternity hospitals in Croatia, and for all the wrong reasons.

The prestigious journal The Lancet Regional Health Europe published this month a scientific paper entitled Quality of health care for mothers and newborns in maternity hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic: an online survey of mothers' perspectives in 12 WHO countries.

The fact that the research was featured on the cover of this scientific journal speaks of its importance on the experience of health care for pregnant women, mothers, and midwives during the pandemic, as well as the quality of investigation and conclusions.

The study included a total of 21,027 women who gave birth in the first year of the pandemic, from March 1, 2020 to March 15, 2021 in twelve countries of the WHO European Region.

The online questionnaire is based on the WHO Standards for Quality of Maternal and Neonatal Care (QMNC) and is organized in four areas: Care Provision, Care Experience, Availability of Staff and Human Resources, and the Impact of COVID- 19 on the provision of care. Based on the results in each area, an overall ranking of responses for that area (0-100) and an overall score (0-400) was formed.

The results indicate huge differences in the quality of care for women and newborns. Unfortunately, Croatia is in the penultimate place on the list of 12 countries. At the top of the scale are Luxembourg (355), Spain (345) and Germany (335) and at the bottom are Romania (275), Croatia (270) and Serbia (205).

Maternity hospitals in Croatia were rated best in the areas of care (80 out of a possible 100) and in the assessment of changes related to COVID (70 out of a possible 100), while the experience in care (65 out of a possible 100) and the availability of staff and human resources were rated worse (55 out of 100), reports Novi list.

In collaboration with the leaders of the scientific project Imagine EURO, Trieste Burlo Garofolo Institute, the project was worked on in Croatia by the head of the Reproductive Rights Program at the Roda Association, Daniela Drandić, M.Sc.

"This research once again pointed out all the problems in health care for pregnant women, mothers, and midwives, which Roda has been warning the competent institutions and the public about since the beginning of the pandemic. The only question is whether the competent institutions will direct their efforts towards solving these problems", warned the Roda Association.

"Once again, we have seen that, despite the constant talk about demography, when it comes to changes in the health care system, women and children are simply not a priority.", they added.

Several more scientific studies will be published as part of this research project, including work measuring the experiences of health professionals in the pandemic. "Over 3,000 health professionals from Europe have already participated in the research on the experiences of health professionals in maternity hospitals during the pandemic, and we call on those from maternity hospitals in Croatia to do the same; the survey questionnaire is open to all health professionals working in maternity hospitals.

In addition, we continue to invite women who gave birth in the hospital during the pandemic to participate in the research that is still ongoing; namely, we want to investigate the experiences of women throughout the pandemic''.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

300,000 Croatians to Have Their Free Health Insurance Cancelled

January 12th, 2022 - Those who have left Croatia but keep using Croatian public healthcare at the expense of the state will soon be removed from the HZZO database

As many as 300.000 Croatians could soon have their public health insurance policies cancelled by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), reports Novi list. Namely, Health Minister Vili Beroš has announced that the HZZO would be cancelling the policies of those insured whose residency or employment status does not grant them the right to free health coverage anymore.

Most of that list consists of citizens who emigrated in the last decade and now work and reside abroad, but retain their Croatian public health insurance at the expense of the state on the basis of being unemployed in Croatia.

A large number of such policyholders prefer to use the services of GPs or dentists when they visit Croatia, as they find it much more affordable than the equivalent service in the country they currently reside in. It’s estimated that two thirds of Croatian emigrants avail of their health insurance benefits in such a manner.

The HZZO states that a considerably large number of people benefit from the rights guaranteed by their public health insurance despite not paying the compulsory insurance contributions. The exact number could become known in a month’s time, once HZZO and the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) have merged their databases.

All citizens who are not on file with the HZZ, but avail of the free compulsory health insurance on the basis of their unemployment status, will have their health insurance policies cancelled, as well as their dependents.

According to the director of the HZZO Lucian Vukelić, those citizens who are not registered with the HZZ as unemployed persons could lose their free health insurance policies as early as in February 2022, once the two institutions have signed the data exchange agreement.

In recent years, many Croatian citizens have left their homeland in search of work; while the number of HZZ applicants dropped significantly as a result, they mostly remained on file with the HZZO and held onto their free health insurance.

A number of Croatian emigrants were removed from the HZZO database in the summer of 2021, after a data exchange with the Ministry of the Interior showed which citizens had cancelled their residency in Croatia.

According to the HZZO, at present it’s nearly impossible to find out which Croatian citizens work in other countries where they also pay their health insurance contributions and where they should thus avail of public healthcare as well. Even though it’s illegal to have public health insurance in two countries simultaneously, there still doesn’t exist a unified EU database that would reflect where citizens have contributory health insurance and use public health services.

‘Considering that there’s a bunch of different insurance providers in most countries, it’s impossible to obtain the data. You would have to search all over Europe for each policyholder individually to find out if they’re insured in a certain country. It so happens that no one in Croatia ever cancels their health insurance; [employers in] most EU countries are obligated to insure their workers upon employment, and so we end up with an enormous number of people who work abroad and are insured in Germany, Austria or Norway, whereas in Croatia their public health insurance remains covered by the national budget’, said Vukelić.

The HZZO does not have the exact figures regarding potential savings for the national budget if Croatians who are not factually unemployed were removed from the HZZO’s list of unemployed policyholders.

However, if we were to consider the 300.000 people in question, based on the health contribution rate of 16.5% of a monthly gross salary of e.g. HRK 5,000, the state is HRK 2,7 billion out of pocket each year. This does not even take into account the annual costs of health services in Croatia that such policyholders avail of.

The HZZO will also look to cancel the policies of Croatian citizens who have not left the country, but use the benefits provided by their health coverage even though they are not paying the contributions.

An example of this are undeclared workers who neither pay for the coverage nor are they on file with the HZZ, but retain their free health insurance. Such persons will need to register with the HZZ and find legal work, i.e. pay the relevant taxes and contributions.

 

https://www.novilist.hr/novosti/hrvatska/hzzo-cisti-evidenciju-besplatno-osiguranje-moglo-bi-izgubiti-300-000-ljudi-radi-se-mahom-o-iseljenicima/
Ljerka Bratonja Martinović

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Croatia registers 1,925 new COVID cases, 18 deaths

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - Croatia registered 1,925 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours while 18 people died as a consequence, and there are currently 8,813 active cases in the country, the national COVID response team reported on Wednesday.

There are 820 hospitalised patients and 116 are on ventilators, while 16,186 people are self-isolating.

To date, 411,917 cases of contagion have been registered and 8,722 people have died, while 394,382 people have recovered. A total of 2,874,479 tests have been conducted, including 10,083 in the past 24 hours.

54.31% of the adult population vaccinated

As of Tuesday, 3,460,702 doses of vaccines had been administered, and 45.28% of the total population or 54.31% of the adult population had received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Yesterday, 8,144 people were vaccinated, of whom 5,073 received the first dose.

A total of 1,837,585 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 1,721,731 have been fully vaccinated, which makes up 50.97% of the adult population.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Varaždin County Gets 3 Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicles Worth HRK1M

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Varaždin County's department of emergency medicine on Tuesday was provided with three new vehicles for non-emergency patient transport, and this procurement was worth about a million kuna (€133,000).

During the vehicle takeover ceremony, County Prefect Anđelko Stričak said that emergency medicine, fire-fighters, the police, the army, the civil protection units and mountain rescue service were the essential elements of homeland security.

Stričak said that the county's department of emergency medicine had 41 vans in its fleet, and 32 of those vehicles were for non-emergency medical transport while nine were ambulances.

Annually, 65,000 patients use the services of this transport, and the vehicles in this department's fleet cover 1.3 million kilometres. The department registers about 10,500 emergency interventions and cover some 230,000 kilometres during the provision of urgent medical aid.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Overweight Croatian Children: Every Third Child Eats Too Much

October 2, 2021 - With every third child having a weight problem, the study finds that the sheer amount of overweight Croatian children is a legitimate concern.

The Dalmatian meat specialty of Pašticada, Zagorje's Štrukli, spicy Slavonian sausages called Kulen... the list goes on and these are just some of the delicious foods Croats traditionally eat. But even outside of tradition, there are loads of contemporary food restaurants, foreign food options (Chinese, Mexican, Arab, Greek and more), not to mention many fast-food chains and even more bakeries. Basically, there's no need to worry about starving in Croatia. And that may also turn into a problem.

As Srednja.hr writes, every third child in Croatia is overweight, meaning there is now a serious concern about overweight Croatian children which needs to be tackled.

This fact was discovered during the ''European Initiative for monitoring childhood obesity in Croatia 2018/2019'' (CroCOSI), conducted by the European Office of the World Health Organisation. It's interesting to note that the research leader for Croatia was none other than Sanja Musić Milanović, the wife of the current Croatian president, Zoran Milanović.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). ''Around 35% of Croatian children aged 8 to 9 are overweight, and only 14% of parents are aware of that,'' writes Srednja.hr.

Looking at different regions, the lowest amount of overweight Croatian children can be found in Zagreb (29.7%). While continental Croatia has a higher percentage (36.0%), the Adriatic region holds a record-breaking number, reaching almost 37%.

Gender-wise, Croatian boys have more weight issues than girls do (17.8% / 11.9%).

While this isn't too much of a drastic rise when compared to the research from 2015/2016 (the total percentage was 34.9%), being overweight remains a big problem for Croatia which can lead to serious health risks sooner or later. These issues go deeper than personal health but also result in more pressure being placed on an already burdened healthcare system.

What's interesting, is that this weight problem is more of an issue in rural areas than it is in urban ones, even though you'd think it should be the other way around as rural areas are more in touch with nature and offer more possibilities for recreation. However, urban areas, as a study suggests, have better prevention programmes which advocate for healthy habits and lifestyles.

Additionally, the fact that only 14% of parents are aware that their child has a weight problem also shows problems in understanding of what a good diet actually is among Croats.

''The Health Ministry has recognised the weight issue as a priority area and has started with preparations for making a prevention plan for it. I believe that with the implementation of this action plan, we'll contribute in stopping this negative trend rising on a national level in the years to come,'' commented Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The problem of overweight children and fat-shaming has recently been recognised among Croatian pupils. As TCN wrote, pupils in schools are no longer measured publicly but privately. However, the combat against unhealthy habits among Croatian children for a healthier, more knowledgeable generation is still underway.

Learn more about Croatian food in our TC guide.

 For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Croatia Reports 1,911 New coronavirus Cases, 14 Deaths

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Croatia has registered 1,911 new coronavirus cases and 14 COVID-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Wednesday.

The number of active cases now stands at 8,101, and 745 infected persons are receiving hospital treatment, including 99 who are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 403,080 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 8,628 have died and 386,351 have recovered, including 896 in the last 24 hours. 21,164 people are currently self-isolating.

To date, 2,813,356 people have been tested for the virus, including 10,148 in the last 24 hours.

A total of 3,419,381 doses of vaccines have been administered, with 44.66 percent of the total population, or 53.59 percent of adults, having been vaccinated. 1,812,532 people have received at least one dose and 1,700,089 have been fully vaccinated (1,606,849 people have received two vaccine doses and 93,240 have received the single-dose Jannsen vaccine), which makes up 50.34 percent of the adult population.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

MEP Says Croatia Fares Poorly in Terms of Access to Legal, Safe Abortion

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - Compared to other countries, Croatia fares poorly in terms of access to legal and safe abortion, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Predrag Matić, said on the occasion of International Safe Abortion Day and the presentation of the Abortion Atlas.

"The Abortion Atlas is a new tool that gives an overview of countries according to the availability of abortion, and more importantly, the kind of obstacles women across Europe encounter in terms of access to abortion. Croatia is in the lower section of the ladder in that regard, with the situation considered as poor. Even though abortion in Croatia is legal, we have a problem with practical obstacles to access to abortion," Matić said, as quoted by his office.

The Abortion Atlas, authored by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is the first comprehensive interactive map with data on access to abortion in Europe.

It ranks 52 countries in terms of their legislative frameworks, access and availability of abortion, abortion-related medical care and available public information on abortion.

Croatia is in the lower part of the ranking, with a score of 60%, and it belongs among countries with a poor rating concerning legal and safe abortion. Of the EU member-countries, the best-ranked are Sweden and the Netherlands while Malta and Poland are worst-ranked.

"Access to abortion in the EU has been prevented due to a number of administrative and imposed medical obstacles and conditions such as compulsory counselling, compulsory additional medical tests and a compulsory waiting period," said Matić, a member of the EP's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee and author of an EP resolution on the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU.

The obstacles are unjustified and most citizens advocate access to abortion, Matić said, citing the latest survey on the topic in Croatia, in which 81% of the respondents supported the right to abortion while as many as 63% said that pregnancy termination must be free of charge, which makes abortion truly available regardless of one's geographical and socioeconomic status, Matić's office said.

Matić also recalled an extremely dangerous trend among gynecologists in Croatia, with 186 or 60% of the 322 gynecologists employed in hospitals across the country refusing to perform abortion.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Croatian Chamber of Nurses Distances Itself From Unscientific Views on Vaccination

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Nurses (HKMS) has distanced itself from unscientific and unprofessional views on vaccination against COVID-19, spread by some of the nurses.

"A large number of nurses have been vaccinated, notably 72 percent of them, and the Chamber once again calls on all nurses to get vaccinated and thus protect their health and the health of their patients," the HKMS said in a statement on Tuesday.

The dissemination of untrue and scientifically uncorroborated information, especially when it comes from nurses, makes the fight against the epidemic and efforts to increase the vaccination rate difficult and undermines trust in the healthcare system, it added.

The HKMS stressed the importance of vaccination as the only effective way to overcome the epidemic and get life back to normal.

Many of our nurse colleagues treat hospitalised patients for serious forms of COVID-19 and many of them see their patients, most of whom have not been vaccinated, die, the HKMS said, reminding nurses that "nursing is a medical profession and our public discourse must be based on the results of medical science."

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 1,061 New Cases, 8 Deaths, 1,098 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - In the last 24 hours Croatia has conducted 9,257 coronavirus tests, and 1,061 of them, (11.5%) have returned positive, whereas eight more COVID patients have died, raising the COVID-19 death toll to 8,614, the national COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Tuesday.

There are currently 7,100 active cases, and of them 738 are receiving hospital treatment including 102 patients placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the novel virus in Croatia in late February 2020, the country has conducted over 2.8 million tests that have shown that 401,169 people have contracted the virus, and of them 385,455 have recovered, including 1,098 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

As many as 22,467 people are self-isolating.

To date, over 3.4 million vaccine doses have been administered, and 44.46% of the total population or 53.48% of the adult population have been vaccinated.

Every second adult Croat has fully been inoculated to date.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 1,835 New Cases, Seven Deaths

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - Croatia reported a surge in the daily number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday as 1,835 new cases had been registered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases to 7,037.

Among those infected are 603 people who are hospitalised and 64 of them are on ventilators. Seven people have died in the past 24 hours.

Health Minister Vili Beroš told Parliament that Croatia was at the beginning of the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's 1,835 new infections are indeed a warning. Seven of the infected persons have died and only one of them was vaccinated. The healthcare system will be ready, but the question is whether society will be ready because not enough people have been vaccinated," Beroš said.

A similar number of cases were registered on 30 November 2020, when as many as 73 people died, and on 26 March 2021, when 16 people died.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was reported in Croatia, 386, 891 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 8,463 have died and 371,391 have recovered, including 609 in the past 24 hours. A total of 14,799 people are currently in self-isolation.

To date, 2,684,626 people have been tested for COVID-19, including 11,550 in the past 24 hours. A total of 3,341,864 doses of vaccines have been administered, with 43.53 percent of the total population or 52.26 percent of the adult population having been vaccinated. 1,766,447 people have received at least one dose and 1,655,970 of them have been fully vaccinated.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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