Sunday, 19 June 2022

Health Ministry Decides on New Croatian Immunology Institute Location

June the 19th, 2022 - The much-talked-about Croatian Immunology Institute is one step closer to coming to fruition now that the involved ministries have chosen a location for the future facility.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property and the Immunology Institute, a solution was reached by which the Rugvica business zone near Zagreb will become the permanent home of the new Croatian Immunology Institute, the Ministry of Health reported recently.

''In the context of legal challenges we faced with the previous chosen location, we've made a significant step forward in continuing this strategic project and have shown the strong will and determination of the Croatian Government, the Ministry of Health and the Croatian Immunology Institute to remain committed to revitalising the Immunology Institute as an important institution in this country,'' said Health Minister Beros on the occasion of this decision.

With this decision, the Municipality of Rugvica, as the owner, donates to the Croatian Immunological Institute, land in the Rugvica working zone - north, 69,761 m2 with a potential minimum minimum size of 20,000 m3 for the construction of an entire biological drug factory, the construction of a separate plant for antitoxins, and plants for the production of animal immunosera intended for both human and animal use with the primary purpose of producing antitoxins for the venom of European snakes.

This Decision was preceded by a statement from the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of the Economy and Sustainable Development, and the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property found no legal obstacles in terms of Article 391 of the Property and Other Real Rights Act.

The construction of the entire factory will begin in no later than two years time, while the estimated construction time to the stage of functionality is nine months from the positive completion of the public tender, ie the selection of all of the contractors by tender. The method of construction of the production plant will be prefabricated modular segments of clean rooms designed and built outside the building and connected and formed inside the building, preceded by a series of preliminary works, from obtaining the necessary permits, evaluating the conceptual design and final design of the main project.

At the same time, a public tender has been prepared for publication for the construction of a new biopharmaceutical plant for the production of animal immunosera, ie drugs intended for both human and veterinary use with the primary purpose of producing antitoxins for European snake venom.

As the Croatian Immunology Institute has permits for animal testing, as well as breeding permits, there are some basic preconditions for building a plant for processing hyperimmune equine (horse) plasma within the new factory, as a complete unit in one location, where the processing, filling and equipping would take place. The existing resources on the farm in Sveta Nedelja will be used for all of the above.

"The Croatian Immunology Institute is the flagship of our science and deserves all possible interdepartmental efforts. The easiest thing in the world to do is to simply declare the end and throw in the towel at the first sign of any obstacles that understandably appeared due to the complexity of this project. We've chosen a harder but more correct way of going about things, we've taken an additional step forward and together we've found a solution to continue the revitalisation of the Croatian Immunology Institute.

In order to restore its reputation and further position it on the international map of leading manufacturers of vaccines for various purposes, as well as other products in demand in this market segment, in the first phase, vaccines against measles and rubella will be produced, as these are products needed by both the Croatian and world markets,'' concluded Minister Vili Beros, adding that this country now the opportunity to meet the preconditions for its own production of antitoxins, which would make Croatia self-sufficient in the production of snake antidote, which is especially in demand during the summer tourist season when bites are more common.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Beroš Ordered a List of Croatian Doctors with Conscientious Objection

May 20, 2022 - In an effort to dig deeper into the situation of termination of pregnancy in Croatia, Health Minister Vili Beroš requested last week a list of Croatian doctors who refused to perform abortions owing to conscientious objection. However, according to Croatian media reports, the Ministry always had this list and knew the number.

Last week, Health Minister Vili Beroš asked hospital directors to list all healthcare workers who invoke conscientious objection and refuse to terminate a pregnancy to determine if hospital functioning is compromised, reports The move gives the impression that the minister wants to do something after being embroiled in the controversial Čavajda affair but, as Jutarnji list reported in its print edition, Beroš already knew that more than half of doctors in Croatia have a conscientious objection.

When Jutarnji found out that the Minister had asked hospitals to list their employed doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion, the Ministry did not answer their question, and Beroš did not answer the question of MP Anka Mrak Taritaš, who asked on April 20 how many doctors refused to assist women in the legal termination of pregnancy, which is something guaranteed by law.

Namely, out of a total of 359 hospital gynecologists in Croatia, 164 gynecologists agree to perform abortions/terminations of pregnancy for women until the tenth week of gestation, which is legally regulated and legal, and 195 refuse to do so. Beroš admitted this to RTL on May 9, two days before asking the directors of the country's hospitals to list their doctors with conscientious objections to performing abortions.

''Conscience appeal and termination of pregnancy do not exclude each other''

Beroš then said that in that case "outpatient gynecologists are to be hired in the requested hospital or in the nearest healthcare institution in accordance with the law.''

When asked by Jutarnji whether it makes sense to ask hospitals (yet again) for a list of conscientious objectors when they already know how many refuse to terminate pregnancies, and whether or not the plan is to do something so that women can exercise their legally guaranteed right, the Ministry sent them the same answer as they did to RTL more than ten days ago.

They only added that "they periodically collect data with the aim of actively managing the processes for the benefit of patients and that the right to abortion and to conscientious objection are not mutually exclusive and institutions are obliged to find conditions for exercising both rights." However, Mirela Čavajda could not exercise her legal right in Croatia, so she had to go to Slovenia for her abortion.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Former Croatian Health Minister Sinisa Varga Returns to Dentistry

January the 15th, 2022 - Following former Health Minister Milan Kujundzic's reign, few are likely to easily recalled Sinisa Varga, who served as Croatia's health minister in Zoran Milanovic's centre-left government from 2014 to 2016. The ex minister, otherwise a doctor of dental medicine, has returned to his original vocation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, at the beginning of the year, former Minister of Health Sinisa Varga, a doctor of dental medicine, opened the Institution for Health Care - Centre for Smiles (Centar za Osmijeh) in Zagreb's Malesnica district.

According to a recent announcement, the Sinisa Varga's new dental practice intends to provide dental care for all ages (for the whole family), and patient enrollment and the formalisation of the practice's contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) are now underway, which will cover part of patient dental work, including prosthetics.

Although Varga is best known to the public as a politician and Minister of Health in the Government of Zoran Milanovic, and as a consultant, Varga is extremely active in his profession of dentistry.

He graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Zagreb back in 1990, and completed his specialisation in 1997 in dental prosthetics at the Dental Clinic of the Clinical Hospital Centre in Zagreb.

For 23 whole years he ran the Clinic for Surgical Prosthetics, the Clinical Institute for Oral Surgery, the Clinic for Facial and Maxillofacial Surgery, and the Dubrava Clinical Hospital. Since it is the only centre of its kind in the Republic of Croatia, he worked on improving the surgical prosthetic profession by introducing and applying modern methods in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with congenital or acquired defects of the face and jaw.

In addition, Sinisa Varga regularly participates in the training of nurses, dental technicians, non-medical staff and trainees and specialists in dental prosthetics, oral surgery, maxillofacial surgery and otorhinolaryngology. Due to his professional work on improving the overal profession of dentistry, he earned the title of primarius from the Ministry of Health back in 2007.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Minister Says Surge in New Cases Due to Omicron, Festivity Celebrations

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2021 - Rising coronavirus numbers are partly due to the appearance of the Omicron variant of the virus and partly due to gatherings and celebrations during the Christmas and New Year holidays, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Tuesday.

So far, there have been 113 highly likely cases of the new variant in Croatia, and of the 1,000 samples sent from Croatia to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, three have turned out to be positive.

New COVID cases keep growing by the week, and we can say that the fifth wave of the pandemic has started already, without any pause between it and the previous, fourth wave, the minister said.

Beroš said that the highly transmissible Omicron variant will reach everybody and some of the vaccinated will not manage to avoid the infection.

"However, the immunized can expect milder symptoms and better protection," he said.

Asked by the press whether any harsher restrictions are on the table, the minister said that the current COVID protocols are well-balanced, underlining the importance of avoiding unnecessary contacts.

Costs incurred to curb the impact of COVID-19 exceed €400 million

At the end of 2021, costs incurred in the battle against the virus exceeded three billion kuna, he said.

Commenting on the appearance of flurona, the simultaneous infection with coronavirus and influenza virus, the minister said that a 27-year-old female patient, the first case of this mix of the two infections, was stable and in good shape.

The head of the Zagreb-based hospital for infectious diseases, Dr. Alemka Markotić, said that a mix of two or more infections was neither extraordinary nor spectacular.

She said that the 27-year-old patient had developed mild symptoms.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Minister: Croatia Still Not Mulling Mandatory Vaccination Against COVID

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - The idea of compulsory vaccination against coronavirus is not yet on the government's agenda, however, anti-epidemic measures will depend on the epidemiological situation, Croatian Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday.

The minister did not rule out the possibility of the fifth wave of the pandemic hitting Croatia if the country failed to reach the necessary vaccination rate.

"We have been emphasizing all along that vaccination is voluntary, and we have not considered the vaccination mandate. Since the onset of the pandemic we have been saying that all the measures are on the table and that epidemiological developments shape our choice of the measures," Beroš told a news conference after the government's meeting today.

He recalled that in Europe there are warnings that if a certain vaccination rate is not achieved, the fifth wave of the pandemic is possible in February.

"No one can know what awaits us so I cannot completely rule out the introduction of mandatory vaccination," Beroš said, admitting that mandatory vaccination could deepen the divisions in society and provoke resistance.

"Therefore, let us get vaccinated to deter a possible fifth wave and the emergence of new variants (of the virus)."

Croatia has seen a decline in new coronavirus numbers over recent days, which the minister associated with more and more people getting inoculated and with the introduction of the COVID certificate mandate.

Although he expressed hope for a more serene Christmas season, the minister called for exercising caution.

As for the inclusion of his name on the "Croatian Traitors" website, Beroš said that he felt extremely bad about it.

"Every single move and decision we make... is aimed at protecting the health of Croatian citizens. Anything else is bad stories that will be judged by history," the minister said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Minister Says Number of New Infections Down Compared to Last Week

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said at a government session on Thursday that the number of new coronavirus infections was down 14.5% from the previous week and that the number of hospitalizations was also slightly smaller even though pressure on the health system was still significant.

The test positivity rate in the past 24 hours was 38.35%, a drop of 14.5% compared to last week and 26.5% compared to two weeks ago.

A total of 2,391 people are hospitalized, which is a slight decrease in the number of hospitalizations. In the past 24 hours, 30 people were put on ventilators and 24 of them are unvaccinated, said Beroš.

Despite the decline in the number of infections, hospitals are still under strain and the situation is most difficult in the northwest of Croatia, in the hospitals in Zabok, Varaždin, Čakovec and Koprivnica, where nurses and ventilators from other health institutions are being sent.

"The capacity for the admission of COVID-19 patients keeps increasing, and over the past month, the number of beds for those patients was increased from 2,253 to 3,580, which is currently insufficient. The number of hospitalizations in that period grew by 85%, from 1,330 to 2,545," he said.

As for the new coronavirus variant Omicron, the minister said that it was considered more dangerous because it had twice as many mutations as the Delta variant. However, experts note that vaccines continue to provide a high degree of protection from severe clinical symptoms and hospitalization, he said.

A total of 209,000 people have received the third vaccine dose so far.

As for vaccination with the first and second doses, one should strive to achieve the vaccination rate of Zagreb (75%), with the 70-74 age group having the highest vaccination rate, with 90% having received at least one shot.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Minister Says Croatia at Peak of 4th Wave of Pandemic

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš told the national radio (HR) on Saturday morning that over 7,000 new cases of the infection with coronavirus had been registered in the last 24 hours.

Croatia is now at the peak of the new wave of the pandemic and unfortunately, today we have registered over 7,000 new cases.

The minister declined to predict the scenarios for the future.

Let us do our best, and the best thing is to get vaccinated and comply with the basic anti-epidemic measures, said Beroš.

He said that the hospitals were not under strain such was the case in the previous waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called for responsible behavior of all so as to prevent an excessive burden on the healthcare system.

Vaccination reduces possible reservoirs for the virus, he said, reiterating the benefits of immunization such as fewer chances of getting seriously ill.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš Announces Wider Use of COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš announced on Thursday that the national COVID-19 crisis management team would introduce a new package of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, including wider use of COVID certificates, but there would not be a new lockdown.

"We are completely clear that we must react. A new package of measures is being hammered out and it will be presented at a press conference tomorrow. Epidemiologists will this time again put forward measures which will be agreed on with the goal of preventing the spread of the infection, a further rise in the number of new cases, and ensuring the stability of the health system," Beroš told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He confirmed that the new measures included a wider use of COVID certificates, although he "certainly hopes that we wouldn't need a COVID certificate to go for a coffee or to a shopping center".

"There are a number of other measures with which we can try to prevent the further spread of the virus. We'll see everything tomorrow," said Beroš, noting that the new measures sought to strike a balance between restrictions and normal life.

He underscored that the citizens who had been vaccinated had been taken into account in the new package of measures.

"There cannot be a new lockdown. Those who are truly protected, those who have recovered from the infection and been vaccinated, we cannot restrict their lives," Beroš said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš: Statements by Individuals About Deterioration of Health System Untrue

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system were not true and that all COVID and non-COVID patients were being taken care of without delay.

"I wish to appeal to the media that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system are simply not true. Indeed, large resources are being redirected towards the treatment of COVID patients, which could have been avoided by timely vaccination. However, all COVID and non-COVID patients are being taken care of without delay," Beroš told a cabinet meeting.

National COVID-19 response team considering a possible new set of measures

The head of the national COVID-19 response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that they were considering a possible new set of measures to contain the spread of the virus. He said that interdepartmental talks were ongoing and that the public would be informed of any new measures in due course.

Beroš said that today's number of 6,310 new cases in Croatia was by far the largest daily number recorded to date.

"The causes of this surge lie in ourselves alone, in our refusal to comply with the basic epidemiological measures, and in our insufficient awareness of the benefits of vaccination," Beroš said.

7 in 10 new cases and 8 in 10 patients on ventilators unvaccinated

He said that the test positivity rate was 43.90 percent, and 233 infected people had been hospitalized in the 24 hours alone. In the past week, of the total number of new cases, 72.8 percent were not vaccinated, and 77.2 percent of the patients on ventilators were not vaccinated, he warned.

"However, the newly-awakened interest among citizens in getting vaccinated is encouraging. As many as 14,379 persons were vaccinated yesterday, the largest number in a single day to date," the health minister said.

Beroš said that 29,627 people had so far received a booster shot against COVID-19, adding that three percent of children aged 12-14 and 18.6 percent of young people aged 15-19 had been vaccinated to date.

"Insufficient compliance with the epidemiological measures and refusal to get vaccinated are the main causes of the rapid spread of the virus. We are seeing consequences at all levels of the health system," Beroš warned and once again appealed to citizens to get vaccinated.

He said that the ministry had instructed local coronavirus response teams to ensure additional capacities for medical treatment in their counties.

Božinović said that 11,578 inspections had been carried out in the past week to check compliance with the epidemiological measures. He said that the irregularities mostly concerned the provision of catering services after midnight and failure to wear face masks and maintain a physical distance in enclosed spaces. He said that 27 infringement notices, 176 written warnings, 14 oral warnings, and 17 fines had been issued in that regard.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Health Minister: One Dose of Blood Can Save as Many as Three Lives

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - One dose of donated blood can help save as many as three lives, Health Minister Vili Beroš said in a message on Monday marking the National Voluntary Blood Donors Day, observed on 25 October.

"One dose of your blood can save as many as three lives. The Blood Donors Day is an opportunity to thank all those who have made this noble gesture and invite others to do the same. A big thank-you to the Croatian Red Cross for its commitment, for encouraging citizens to donate blood, and for saving lives on a daily basis," Beroš said on Twitter.

The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) also congratulated the blood donors, saying that they are "a true value of this society" and thanking them for saving people's lives.

The HCK brings together the largest number of blood donors in Croatia, meeting 80 percent of the healthcare sector's demand for blood donations. It said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it managed to collect 142,265 doses of blood, of the total of 176,938 doses collected in Croatia last year.

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