Friday, 14 February 2020

Croatians Twice as Likely to Die From Treatable Diseases Compared to EU

Croatian Parliament MPs Božo Petrov and Ines Strenja emphasized that, despite the dismissal of Health Minister Milan Kujundžic, problems with Croatian health system have not gone away. They also pointed out that Croatians are twice as likely to die of treatable diseases as citizens in more developed European countries.


MediCarrera | Screenshot

Medical Staff Leaving Croatia: Remainers Working Unpaid Overtime

"After three and a half years of inaction, it is time to start treating chronic illnesses in the Croatian healthcare system. The system is in debt, irrationally organized, filled with red tape and waiting lists while doctors and other medical staff are leaving Croatia (for opportunities abroad). Those who remain, like nurses, are at a disadvantage and are being forced to work unpaid overtime hours,” Petrov pointed out.

Scandinavia Offers Croatians Free Relocation, Language Training, Child Care

Indeed, more financially prosperous EU countries have set up one-stop recruiting sites to lure medical professionals to their countries to the further detriment of Croatian citizens and residents. MediCarrera, a website serving the medical career recruitment needs of Denmark, Sweden and Norway; offers job placement, language training for hires and their families, accommodations and relocation costs; all of which are financed by employers in their respective countries.


MediCarrera | Screenshot

Several Swedish media outlets have recently criticized Croatia for its demographic losses and emigration.

Despite these external and internal challenges, Petrov insisted to members of the Croatian government that Most would not let them continue policies of inaction which had defined the former health minister's term according to Index on February 14, 2020.

Croatians Have Highest Mortality Rate for Treatable Diseases

Strenja pointed out that Croatian citizens continue to occupy high, and sometimes the highest, mortality rates among all EU citizens for avoidable and treatable diseases.

The reason, she said, lies in the lack of effective preventive medicine, timely diagnosis and the timely beginning of treatment.


Ines Strenja | Most

Strenja: Investing in Preventative Medicine Yields Fourfold Savings

"Again, unrefined protocol, procedures, measures and responsibilities will continue to miss desired expectations, which is ultimately evident in the overall health data. We emphasize that the investment in preventive medicine is the best bet and yields fourfold savings in treatment," Strenje explained.

She added that ex-Minister Kujundžic's files contain proposals for national strategies that would lower the death rate in Croatia from preventable diseases which is currently 293 per 100 thousand inhabitants compared to 140 per 100 thousand in the EU. The mortality from treatable diseases in our country is 140 per 100 thousand compared to only 90 out of 100 thousand in the EU.

“Therefore, I am calling on the new Health Minister, Vili Beroš, to discharge them and move on to combat chronic non-communicable diseases and conditions in Croatia,” Strenja urged.


Ivan Bekavac | N1

Bekavac: Action Plan Another 'Wish List'

Ivan Bekavac, Advisor for Most’s Health Council, pointed out that two key documents should guide the future of Croatians: The Draft Proposal for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases 2020-2026 and the Draft National Cancer Plan 2020-2030.

"The Action Plan for the Prevention and Control off Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases 2020-2026 does not sufficiently emphasize the responsibility of the Croatian government for the health of the population, because it must place much greater emphasis on the coordination of all departments in promoting and preserving health. It is just a wish list of suggestions, and is almost identical to the previous action plan, and again lacks elements of supervision, monitoring, performance evaluation and research," he explained.

He also considers it a disadvantage that the Draft National Cancer Plan 2020-2030 omitted family medicine doctors who are most familiar with their patients, their habits and family heritage, and emphasized that they should be key stakeholders in encouraging and mobilizing patients for preventive examinations.

Follow our Politics page to keep updated on the health care crisis in Croatia.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Health Minister Kujundzic Dismissed, Who Will Replace Him?

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has dismissed Health Minister Kujundzic (HDZ) after numerous scandalous stories about him broke loose in the media, which detailed everything from incorrectly declared houses to properties that hadn't been declared at all and alleged dodgy dealings.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of January, 2020, Milan Kujundzic has been dismissed from his position as minister of health and this news was confirmed by a Croatian Government spokesman. Andrej Plenkovic is expected to make a statement after the 2020 Green New Deal for Croatia conference.

"The position of minister isn't worth the burden, the simplest thing to do would've been to just resign, but morality doesn't allow for that because certain interest groups would be affected. I'm making the mandate available because to resign would have been the easiest thing. I asked the Prime Minister to give me time to present all the facts. I asked the Prime Minister to decide on my dismissal, but to do so based on the facts,'' former Health Minister Kujundzic stated at yesterday's press conference, to which he also brought his lawyer.

With Health Minister Kujundzic now a face of Croatia's already rather colourful political history books, who could take over his position?

Just who might take over Kujundzic's position has been the topic of speculation for some time now, and although several names have been and still are being mentioned on the sidelines, there are currently three candidates who most likely, according to a report from Jutarnji list.

Prim. Zeljko Plazonic

Plazonic is a specialist in internal medicine, a cardiology subspecialist who spent most of his career at KBC Rijeka. He has been State Secretary at the Ministry of Health since back in 2016, and he recently became President of the Board of Directors of KBC Rijeka. Plazonic confirmed for Jutarnji list that he would accept the minister's position should he be asked to do so, but added that no one had contacted him yet. He believes that the minister must be well acquainted with the work of the ministry because there's still half a year of this mandate left. He also stated that he disagreed with the minister in many matters when it came to running the ministry, and that he rejected projects he considered worthy.

Prof. Dr. Vili Beros

An assistant to former Health Minister Kujundzic and a neurosurgeon in Zagreb. His name has been mentioned ever since MOST twice sought the Milan Kujundzic's dismissal in the past. Last night, he openly admitted on HRT's show that he would accept Plenkovic's offer for him to become Croatia's health minister. However, he also says he has not yet received such an offer from the prime minister. "What is certain is that I think the Prime Minister will, as he's always done, make a decision that is for the benefit of our healthcare system and for our patients," he said.

Doc. Dr. Dario Nakic

The former Minister of Health from Tihomir Oreskovic's government, who held that position for only ten months. He is a doctor in Zadar hospital, where he was a longtime director. He told Jutarnji list yesterday that no one had called him to take over the ministry, that had not yet been dismissed and that he could not speak on the subject. He did not deny such a possibility, but said that he could only talk about it if someone offered him the position.

Make sure to follow our politics page for more.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Late Night Government Meeting - Could Health Minister Kujundzic Resign?

Health Minister Kujundzic hasn't had the best time of it of late. His alleged dodgy dealings, incorrectly declared properties and magic houses and apartments and even land popping up from the island of Pag to his hometown of Ivanbegovina (near Imotski) have all surfaced in the media.

We recently wrote an article which posed the question of just what it would take, or indeed how much would need to be found out, before a Croatian politician would actually do the honourable thing and step down when caught with their fingers ''in the till'' as it were. Could Milan Kujundzic actually end up resigning? Or will it be the usual saga of removing him when the government is backed into too much of a tight corner?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of January, 2020, a government source confirmed to N1 that a late night meeting was held with Health Minister Kujundzic on Saturday night.

That same government source for N1 added that the decisions that follow in this case should show accountability and take into account the stability of the Croatian Government and HDZ.

Other sources from HDZ, however, claim that enfeebled Health Minister Kujundzic could step down as early as Monday.

"I perceive this in one way as a lynch atmosphere, but when it comes to politics, one should be prepared for such things as well.

I commend all of you journalists who will investigate me, and I invite all government bodies to investigate me on all grounds. I encourage you and others to investigate not only those who are public figures, but also many others about wages, what they had, what they got under communism, about privatisation, how much taxes, surtaxes and other kinds of contributions they paid. Do everything you need to do to me down to the last detail, and then do it to everyone else,'' Health Minister Kujundzic said on Friday at an extraordinary press conference regarding the attack of a journalist carried out by his own relative in front of his incorrectly declared house in Ivanbegovina.

Health Minister Kujundzic also held a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and the chance of his resignation, as he said at the time, didn't even come into it.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Why We Abused a Journalist: Health Minister Kujundzic's Relatives Speak

As we reported yesterday, a Slobodna Dalmacija journalist, Andrea Topic, was abused and threatened by construction workers building one of Health Minister Kujundzic's incorrectly registered houses, with another one being constructed next to it. They abused her, frightened her, trapped her in her car and to make matters even worse, at least one of these people is Milan Kujundzic's relative.

As Index writes on the 25th of January, 2020, a man approached Andrea after she parked along a public road, yelling at her for filming a house, which belongs to Health Minister Kujundzic, that they were working on. This man, as the journalist herself says, is Health Minister Kujundzic's close relative who she had even spoken to before during an interview about the local election results. A few more men later came up to her and the journalist recounted everything, which can be read by clicking on the link in the first paragraph.

She eventually locked herself in her car and called her editor, who then called the police. The men surrounding her car said they were relatives of Health Minister Kujundzic. The police arrested them, but they were released shortly after.

One of the men who entrapped and abused the journalist told his side of the story for N1. He says they thought someone was lost.

"Look, it turned out a little reckless. I don't know how to describe it to you, because it's a very interesting situation. The vehicle was moving up and down, and we saw a girl driving and we thought that someone was lost. that the person was lost in the area, as this [area] is a little bit out of the way. There, she parked up against the wall and we approached her and asked her if she needed help and if she was lost, seeing that her phone's navigation was turned on. She refused any cooperation, she didn't say anything to us and at that moment we moved away from the vehicle. She continued to sit in the car and do what she was doing, I don't know what.''

Then one of them went on to explain that they feared the journalist was a thief. He revealed that they called Health Minister Kujundzic's brother.

''After a few minutes she got out of the car and then she went over the wall and at that moment, after she'd gone over the wall, she took some pictures and maybe took a video. We then approached her, well, my neighbour did, and asked her - Excuse me, who are you? This is private property, you've climbed up there over someone else's wall. Who sent you? Why did you come? She got down, he approached her, and she got back in the car.

She didn't want to talk to us, we didn't even know she was a journalist. We didn't know who or what she was, and we were a little worried since the house had already been stolen from twice and we didn't know what kind of person she was, or for what purpose she'd come to take a video, and then we surrounded her car. In the meantime, a neighbour called the minister's brother to tell him that an unknown person had come to take pictures and videos of the house - we were asking whether we should call the police or let her take photos or record freely. He said that she could, but that she shouldn't climb around the house and go into the garden, but that she could take photos and videos from the road. We then got off her car and nobody said a word to her afterwards,'' said Josip Kujundzic.

The Slobodna Dalmacija journalist mentioned that Josip Kujundzic had already spoken to her before because she had previously interviewed him.

"I don't remember, it was brief. About ten minutes or so. If I knew her, I'd greet her and approach her in a different way since I know the person. This is how I approached an unknown person. If she knew me and if she saw that she did an interview with me a year ago, I think it would be fair and correct that she came up to me and said ''Sir, I did an interview with you a year ago, I'm a journalist from Slobodna Dalmacija, I'm here to do an interview regarding Mr. Milan Kujundzic. I’ll be here for a short while and I won't bother you, and so on,'' he said.

He also commented on the footage showing them surrounding Andrea's car. He admits that they played around a little.

"We played around a little. We didn't behave decently. We'd been working, we were a little playful. With didn't bother her or stop her with any bad intentions. But you know, we didn't know who she was and then we had to wait around a bit until we were told what to do - whether to call the police because she's an unknown person or to let her record and do as she pleases. We played around the car for a while, we didn't damage the vehicle nor did we want to hurt the girl, I didn't, and nor did my colleagues. Yes, the footage of that turned out a little lame, but we didn't do that with any ill intent,'' concluded Josip Kujundzic.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Milan Kujundzic: Business v Politics, What Will It Take for Croatian Politician to Resign?

What would it actually take for a Croatian politician to actually politely resign from his or her position? Ever wondered what level must be stooped to before someone steps down of their own accord? You're not alone.

It's quite incredible just how much is continuously discovered about various people from across the Croatian political scene and yet honourable resignations are about as rare as an honest election campaign. The elusive thing that is often referred to as accountability is severely lacking when it comes to politicians, and of course this extends far beyond the borders of modern Croatia, but with the latest discovery of an incorrectly registered property belonging to Health Minister Milan Kujundzic (HDZ) and the assault of a Slobodna Dalmacija journalist by people allegedly related to the lovely Mr. Kujundzic himself, one must ask the question in the first sentence of this article. Several times.

As Telegram/Sanja Modric writes on the 23rd of January, 2020, remember when Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (HDZ) defended his minister, Gabriela Zalac, before the pressure finally got too much, leading to him having to settle things? Then comes the notorious Lovro Kuscevic (HDZ). Then Martina Dalic (HDZ) and her role in the Agrokor fiasco. We mustn't forget Goran Maric (HDZ) from the Ministry of State Property. Oh, and Tolusic... In short, everyone who ended up getting booted out of their cushy government positions, but not because of the most minimal dose of respect for their fellow citizens and taxpayers, but because they were backed into a corner and there was simply no other way.

After Raiffeisen Bank Croatia's rather embarrassing and wholly insulting search for a PR agency to engage who would be willing to "put pressure on the Constitutional Court and other courts in Croatia" regarding Swiss loans was uncovered and forced into an already tired and worryingly desensitised public eye - RBA Croatia's CEO Michael Muller officially resigned. Index discovered and published a critical text about that RBA ad on Monday. Muller, the director of the major bank, resigned on Wednesday, citing the tarnished reputation of RBA after its unethical and not to mention entirely illegal attempt to pressure the Croatian judiciary.

Within 24 hours, he did it in a very decent and in no way defensive manner. "I'm aware of the strong negative impression that has arisen around Raiffeisen Bank and its management," he wrote. "As a professional manager, I decided to step down from my position to prevent further reputational damage to the bank."

Muller's boss Andreas Gschwenter, chairman of the RBA Austria board of directors and board member of Raiffeisen Bank International, which serves as many as fourteen million clients, announced immediately that he was accepting his resignation "as a sign of Muller's responsible attitude". And - that's it. Done and dusted. As tremendously disappointing the story surrounding RBA is, someone at the top did the honourable thing.

The instruction manual for such a level of good practice (at least in the end) should be written down in a little notebook and be kept in the inside pocket of the jackets of every Croatian politician and other individuals in influential public positions, and every now and then, each and every Croatian politician should be forced to take a look at a miniature handbook from RBA on how to behave appropriately when they're inevitably discovered with sticky fingers.

Even Alojz Tomasevic (ex HDZ) didn't even think of resigning after he was convicted as a domestic abuser with clearly zero respect for women - the mark of a truly odious individual. But let's lighten the mood a bit and laugh about this otherwise most serious matter for the first time, we will quote, for example, what Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman decided to do today about the current story unfolding about Health Minister Milan Kujundzic and his magically appearing houses near Imotski, whose unexplained assets are rightly questioned and scrutinised in the media.

Instead of restraining Kujundzic, diplomatically of course, until all the facts about the health minister's real estate have been verified, Radman, has, as is typical, turned it on the journalists and made it all their fault.

"They're dealing with Milan Kujundzic instead of following our EU presidency," he said in a strikingly ''North Korean'' style tone on N1. Quite fascinating, isn't it? That it doesn't matter that a female journalist was cornered by several men claiming that the public road she was on ''belonged to our Milan''. She should have been covering Croatia's EU presidency!

But let's not pick on Radman too much, he is no exception, nor must we let him think he's anything special. Similar reactions by those responsible for difficult affairs in Croatia seem to be the rule. They wouldn't resign for love nor money (well, actually, maybe for money), and their loyal masters would protect them until their dying breaths with the most insane justifications that offend the power of reasoning even below the level of a very average mind.

I don't want to bully Croatia too much, it is a country that I live in, pay my taxes in and adore in spite of its many faults. This type of thing happens elsewhere, too, of course, but the approaches are strikingly different. Sadly, when they happen here, things ripen, swell and rot, turning into a gangrenous mess that festers for weeks and months, and the ''amputation'' only occurs when the odor becomes unbearable, not because it is anyone's best interest.

That is why any kind-hearted Croatian citizen, blinded by the tremendous apathy towards and acceptance of gross misconduct in Croatia appears ignorant of the code of conduct applicable in other parts of the world. They could expect that, in the case with RBA, Muller would say that he had nothing to do with that really idiotic ad that reveals what is otherwise done under the table. That he didn't even know about it. That someone was trying to frame him. He could force the blame on someone in a less powerful position than him. But he didn't.

Instead, Muller stepped down immediately and issued a statement that was fair and fitting given the circumstances. This is behaviour so utterly foreign, alien even, to a Croatian politician - for whom power often seems to mean the chance deceive with permission.

Since starting this article it has been revealed that our dear health minister has two more apartments he has not declared on the island of Pag. Which do you think will come next, a resignation or another undeclared villa?

Follow our dedicated politics page for more.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Journalist Attacked Near Property Hidden by Health Minister Kujundzic

Health Minister Kujundzic (HDZ) owns a home in his native Ivanbegovina in Split-Dalmatia County, which, according to official records, is a mere 100 square feet and has no garden. Land registers, however, state that the house is 184 square metres in size.

As Slobodna Dalmacija/Andrea Topic writes on the 24th of January, 2020, the plot of land, which also belongs to the aforementioned minister, is 1016 square meters in size. In other words, Health Minister Milan Kujundzic, in addition to all other real estate affairs registered officially, forgot to mention that ''little bit'' of land, while citing a house of almost half the size. He also wrote that its value is only a measly 533 euros per square metre, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

If we're to go off what a Slobodna Dalmacija's journalist witnessed yesterday, such official registers should be well and truly ignored.

Far from what he described officially, Health Minister Kujundzic's property is actually a two-storey luxury villa. Finished in stone and with a spacious backyard pool. There's a neatly cut lawn, a wrought iron fence, and some nice modern windows. Another beautiful property is being built next to it. The locals who are working on it, who are of course Minister Kujundzic's relatives, immediately presented themselves in a beautiful manner...

But before we get to all that, it's time for a little digression...

In journalistic texts, it is customary to use the pronouns ''we'' when referring to a team that has been out in the field, or ''us'' as a team of journalists from one media outlet. A visit to one of Health Minister Kujundzic's properties in the vicinity of Imotski seemed like a fairly routine, normal task, and nobody thought that anything could go wrong; nor did Slobodna's journalists think that purely for the sake of writing this article they'd have to go and use the first person singular - I.

Here is the terrible experience of a Slobodna Dalmacija journalist transmitted and translated into English in full:

''So, it was just before eleven o'clock when I parked my car in front of a house which is undoubtedly claimed to be 1/1 owned by Health Minister Milan Kujundzic, who resides in Zagreb, at ''such and such'' address, because it would not be ethical to write that here. It was a beautiful winter day along a deserted road covered with stones and rocks, and the sounds of digging, tools and shouting from the workers. From the passenger seat, I picked up my camera and stepped out onto the road to see where it was best to film the house from without breaking any trespassing laws. I looked up worriedly because I heard a terrible cry from the direction of the house which was under construction. Some guy was coming running towards me. He was in black and was of a medium build.

"Hello," I said, especially glowing because I recognised him. Yes, this is Health Minister Kujundzic's close relative, Kujundzic is also his surname, he also has a monument to Franjo Tudjman and has been a member of HDZ for twenty years, and I know all this because recently I was in Ivanbegovina talking to him when I was doing a report on the results of the local election. And he recognised me, too! But he wasn't pleased to see me.

''You're not going to film here! Who gave you permission to film here? Where's your warrant to film here? This road belongs to the Minister [Kujundzic], get that car out of here! Move it! Move it!'' he howled in a thick Dalmatian accent, getting in my face.

''What minister? This road is public, it's registered by the City of Imotski!'' I replied confidently, because just this morning before departure I was checking both the cadastre and the land register to see who owns the plots around the minister's house. He didn't believe me. I opened the app on my phone, found a plot of land and showed him the information to prove that I was right. He said it was a lie and that everything was Milan Kujundzic's, that Milan was the boss of the house and that Milan didn't want journalists around it. He said all this while waving his hands around aggressively.

I opened the car door. Then the other workers came, four, five of them. All shouting and making a noise. Everyone was trying to force me to leave because the road belongs to ''their Milan''. They surrounded me. I was thinking about running away, I had nowhere to go. Every possible gap around me was cut off. Then I got in the car and slammed the door shut. In a panic, I couldn't find where all the locks inside were, honestly, I've never needed that button.

Health Minister Kujundzic's relatives, who introduced themselves in this way, surrounded my car on all sides.

One of them sat down on the back of the car (boot/trunk), the first one I remembered from the reportage (about the local elections), and I remember that his last name was also Kujundzic, he was standing in front of the bonnet (hood). The third man pulled his hood up and started filming me with his phone, holding the passenger door so I couldn't even get out. The fourth one came up to my door. They yelled, shouted and rocked the car by leaning on it. I wanted to run away. I yelled for them to move away, I lowered the window and yelled at them to leave me alone so I could leave. They didn't want to. I started the car and started revving it. They stood in front of the bonnet, except for the one who was guarding the boot so that I couldn't consider reversing.

They leaned their hands on the car, not letting me go, blocking my path with their bodies. If I put my foot down, I'm screwed, I thought. Nobody would care why I was there and who they were, or what they did, they'd care only about the fact that I ran over three people. I was shaking, panicking. I was screaming inside myself. I typed the number of my editors into my phone. They called the police.

And these kidnappers also called someone. They talked among themselves about calling Health Minister Kujundzic. That's what they said. Boss, that's what they call him. To scare me, they opened the car door. I couldn't move. Neither forward nor backward. They were yelling.

''What do you want from me? Leave me alone, move away!'' I yelled at them.

"We'll see what the Boss says," said Health Minister Kujundzic's relative, also named Kujundzic, with a disgusting chuckle in his voice.

"You want to have a drink with us? Come with us to the house, hang out for a while, come on, we'll have some brandy, you and the four of us, hahaha," said one of them, as I restrained my urge to vomit. He later opened the door. On my side.

"Alright, you've got permission to film," he said. Health Minister Kujundzic himself saved me. As far as I understood from their conversation, he told them to let me go. What if he'd said to keep me there?

About half an hour. That's how long all that terror lasted. Blocking me in, pounding on the glass, grinning and shouting things at me. Finally, the police came.

They talked to me first. I showed them the footage. I was able to record part of this horror, some of the videos were completely black pictures, because I forgot, in panic, to turn the lens towards the abusers. The police reviewed it all. Then they went up to them.

''Oh we're not lying, we've done nothing, she came here and we just asked her: "Excuse me, miss, can we help you!" they assured the police.

What car? What threatening? What deprivation of liberty. They denied everything. Despite the recording. Despite seeing and knowing that I was filming them. Despite knowing that I would undoubtedly give the recording to the police. Why? They obviously have a good boss. They obviously have no reason to fear anyone at all.''

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Opposition Fails to Have Health Minister Replaced

ZAGREB, October 18, 2019 - For the second time this year, the parliamentary opposition on Friday failed to secure a no-confidence vote in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, with 48 votes in favour instead of the required 76 and no abstentions.

"A decision to give the health minister a vote of no confidence hasn't been made," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said.

The no-confidence vote was tabled at the request of 32 opposition MPs at the initiative of the Bridge party. Seventy-nine (79) lawmakers from the ruling coalition voted against this motion of the opposition.

Although it seemed the vote could be a test for the ruling coalition, given the support of the Croatian People's Party and Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić's party for school unions' pay rise demands, after the prime minister announced that salaries would be raised both parties backed the health minister.

Kujundžić has brought the health system to the brink of total collapse, waiting lists are increasingly long, which leads to a tacit privatisation, but the key reason why he can't stay on as minister is that he hasn't ensured the financial viability of the system, said Željko Jovanović of the Social Democrats.

Željko Reiner of the ruling HDZ said the no-confidence motion did not contain "even one statement as to what the minister has done wrong... or even one number, yet it talks about the financing of the health sector." He called out the opposition for creating a false picture of the situation in the sector.

The MOST party called out Kujundžić for a lack of reforms and of strategic health system management.

"Every stakeholder in the system sees they are in deep water - doctors, nurses, employers and wholesale drug suppliers, but first and foremost patients," said Ines Strenja.

This was MOST’s second attempt to give Kujundžić a no-confidence vote.

The first one took place a year ago, when 53 MPs were for and 77 against having him replaced. The arguments were similar to those in the latest motion, but the majority MPs, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Kujundžić dismissed them as unfounded.

More news about the health minister can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Health Minister Responds to President’s Call for Replacement

ZAGREB, August 4, 2019 - Health Minister Milan Kujundžić on Saturday commented on recent statements by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, noting that she had the right to assess the government and ministries' work but that his performance as minister would be judged by voters.

In an interview with Croatian Radio on Friday, Grabar-Kitarović said she was unhappy that the recent government reshuffle did not include the Health Ministry.

"The labour drain is due to working conditions and not wages. The situation in the health sector is perhaps not disastrous but it is truly in a very poor state and almost nothing has been done in the past three years. I am sorry that the Health Ministry wasn't included in the last government reshuffle," she said in the interview.

In a brief statement to Hina, Kujundžić declined to comment on the president's statements, adding that there would be time for comments.

"The president is entitled to make her own assessments and my work as minister will be judged by voters," he said.

More news about the Health Ministry can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Marić: ''Kujundžić is Great, But Croatian Health System is Unsustainable''

As Frenki Lausic/Novac writes on the 20th of April, 2019, the Croatian Government's convergence program for the next three-year period has identified the pension and health system as the two largest structural risks, both of which are associated with the country's worryingly negative demographic trends.

This government assessment came at a time when trade unions are busy organising a referendum on pension reforms, as well as during a somewhat shaky period in which Zdravko Marić, the Croatian finance minister, said that Milan Kujundžić, the minister of health, is an excellent minister but that the Croatian health system with over seven billion kuna's worth of debt is unsustainable in an interview for N1.

When it comes to Croatia's concerning demographic trends, the program states that, when comparing the European Union and the Republic of Croatia, in the period 2016-2070, the remaining life span after 65 years of age will be extended by 6.4 years in men and by 6.2 years in women in Croatia, whereas in the EU, it will be 5.3 years more for men and 5.1 years more for women.

It has been stated that the life expectancy at birth in 2016 was 81.1 years for women and 75 years for men, which is less than the average for the EU, where the expected life expectancy at birth for women was 83.7 years, for men 78.3 years. However, data for the Republic of Croatia showed that life expectancy up to 2070 will be 9.4 years more for men and 7.8 more for women, while for the EU, life expectancy is expected to grow to 7.8 years more for men and 6 more years for women.

In this context, the results of the long-term projections for the Republic of Croatia for the period 2016-2070 show that without the calculated effects of the reform which came into force at the beginning of this year, pension expenditures from the first pillar should be reduced from 10.6 percent of GDP, which is what it was back in 2016, to 6.8 percent of GDP to the year 2070.

At the same time, transfers from the national budget to cover the deficit would gradually fall from the current 4.8 percent to about 1.2 percent of GDP by the year 2070. Expenditures for pensions from the second pillar should gradually increase to 1.6 percent in 2070, which means that overall retirement expenditures from the first and second pillars in 2070 would amount to 8.4 percent of Croatia's GDP.

Thus, looking at the situation macroeconomically, the pension system would remain viable, but with inadequately small pensions. That is why the government states that measures from the latest pension reform will increase pension adequacy and, accordingly, retirement expenditures in the first pillar.

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Click here for the original article by Frenko Lausic for Novac/Jutarnji

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Health Minister: Spinraza to Be Given to Patients if Efficacy is Proven

ZAGREB, December 30, 2018 - Health Minister Milan Kujundžić said on Saturday that all medicines, including Spinraza, were put on the essential medicines list by the Croatian Health Insurance Agency (HZZO) Medicines Commission, stressing that patients aged over 18 and those on a respirator would be given the drug if its efficacy in such cases was proven.

"The main criterion (for putting a drug on the essential medicines list) are indications cited by the company making the drug. As soon as the relevant company reports that the drug should also be given to patients on a respirator and if there is evidence that it is a useful method, the Commission will decide that Spinraza should be given to those patients as well," Kujundžić told the RTL commercial broadcaster when asked when spinal muscular atrophy patients older than 18 or on a respirator would be able to use Spinraza.

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