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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Bioethics committee left to the mercy of God ]

Bioethics committee left to the mercy of God

THE CYPRUS National Bioethics Committee (CNBC) has been operating for six years and yet its repeated requests for state support have fallen on deaf ears.

The Committee hasn’t even got a designated building; instead it is being forced to use the offices of its president, Rena Vrahimi Petridou of the Bar Association.

The CNBC’s gripes were voiced at yesterday’s House Human Rights Committee, which heard that apart from a measly annual fund from the state budget, the Committee has received little help from three successive governments since 2002.

The lack of specialised and administrative staff, as well as equipment, came to add to the CNBC’s problems.

“The state appointed us and left us to the mercy of God,” Petridou told deputies, adding that the CNBC has repeatedly asked the government for help without response.

“The situation has reached its limits,” she added. Without a permanent office, the Committee lacks a conference room and safe area to store private records, resulting in personal data being at risk of exposure.

In response, the Health Ministry spokesman said the Committee would be moving to a new building in Engomi by mid November, where they would have three offices, including areas for keeping records.

The budget approved by the Health Ministry was described as insufficient – not just by Petridou, but also deputies – with £10,000 approved in 2006 and £12,000 the following year; nothing compared to the £100,000 the CNBC had requested.

Speaking after the meeting, Petridou said the parliamentary discussion was of special significance, seeing that it was the first time the CNBC had any kind of discussion with a state body.

“The Committee’s work is admirable, delicate and sensitive, yet it has been left since its appointment to fight alone, effectively without any assistance,” Petridou told reporters after the meeting. “How can such a Committee work without a sufficient amount of academic and scientific staff?” she wondered. “Each day our work is becoming harder and less effective; I hope today’s meeting prompts the state into seeing the significance of this institution and giving us the means to operate.”

Petridou pointed out, “There is work we want to do but can’t”. for example, she added, without questionnaires, it is impossible to interpret society’s reactions to burning issues such as organ donations, transplants or IVF fertility treatment.

“How informed are Cypriot people on this?” she asked. “We need to approach the public. If we had the human resources, we could carry out a proper survey and make a strategic plan to submit to the Health Ministry, which will correspond to today’s needs.”

Referring to the recent case of a Syrian man who sold his kidney, Petridou said the CNBC’s position on the matter was clear: “Any organ transplant, whether it is from a live or dead donor, is an acceptable act for the Bioethics Committee. But the Cyprus law strictly forbids the donation of transplants in exchange for money.”

She added that by law, a transplant receiver should not know the donor unless he or she was a relative, “to avoid emotional or financial dependency”.

The Parliamentary Committee’s chairman, Sophocles Fyttis of DIKO, described the CNBC’s problems as “very serious”.

“The Committee will help where it can to resolve these problems,” he added, not excluding the possibility of a second discussion on the matter.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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