Thursday, 12 May 2022

Hundreds Protest In Zagreb For Pregnancy Termination To Be Available

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - Hundreds of citizens, mostly women, rallied in Zagreb's main square on Thursday to protest against the "destruction of public health and neglecting women's health," and to demand that legal, available and safe pregnancy termination be guaranteed.

Protesters carried banners which read "A woman is not an incubator", "Mistress of my own body", "A woman's toughest decision is not yours", "No more denying medical procedures", "No more clericalism in gynecology clinics", "No more women-hating gynecologists" and "No more unavailable health".

The protest was held in solidarity with Mirela Čavajda, whom a Zagreb hospital's second-instance commission allowed to terminate her pregnancy for medical reasons only after she went public with her case.

It was organised by several NGOs which demand that the government and the Health Ministry make sure that pregnancy termination is available in public health.

According to a survey by the gender equality ombudsman, 59% of Croatian doctors are conscientious objectors.

The NGOs demand the urgent adoption of protocols that will guarantee the availability of pregnancy termination and the publication of the names of doctors who are conscientious objectors as well as information on which hospitals in Croatia perform the procedure.

The demands have been signed by more than 100 civil society organisations.

Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga attended the protest, telling the press that she came first of all as a woman, but also as a politician who wanted to take responsibility so that everyone in society would act responsibly and apply the law.

The 1978 abortion law which is in force is not the most liberal one nor the most rigid, but it should be updated so that cases like Čavajda's do not happen again, she said, adding that the premier and the ministers have said a lot on this issue. "Therefore, let us do our part."

Asked if the incumbent government, too, was responsible for the fact that hospitals do not provide the services they should, Šimpraga did not say, adding that it is necessary to insist on making healthcare equally available in Zagreb and undeveloped parts of the country. "And we will work on that."


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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Nurses Protest in Downtown Zagreb

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 - Members of the nurses union protested in downtown Zagreb on Thursday, saying there was no Health Ministry plan to improve their status and that they were being threatened and forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

They pointed to problems with inadequately paid overtime, job classification, accelerated retirement, and the recognition of university education.

Nurses said they were aware of their responsibility towards patients but that due to everyday fatigue and stress, they were becoming patients themselves.

They said COVID certificates in healthcare were unenforceable and that the rate of vaccination was so high that the minister was not allowed to say it publicly.

"How did we work for a year and a half without a vaccine, testing, and enough gear? People didn't exactly die because irresponsible nurses infected them," one nurse said, asking the minister if layoffs were next. "There are too few of us anyway. There is a shortage of at least 8,000 and you are doing nothing about it."

Minister: Protest is legitimate, but facts shouldn't be manipulated with

Health Minister Vili Beroš said the union protest by some nurses was legitimate but that they should not manipulate with facts.

He said the payment of overtime was regulated by a supplement to the collective agreement and the payment of overtime arrears was agreed upon a few days ago in communication with the unions.

Beroš reiterated that there was no coercion to get vaccinated but said that everyone working with sick people must know that they could infect them.

"We want to prevent that but in a reasonable way," he said, adding that those who have not recovered from COVID and refuse to get vaccinated or tested most probably will not get paid. "However, I don't think there will be such people."

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