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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 January 2016
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 JANUARY 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM An open letter to the minister for health in Greece Children’s gastro and hospitalisation in Greece JOHN BALASSIS Dear Minister Xanthos, I write to you as a Greek Australian - I have a Greek passport and I was recently in Athens (4-12 January 2016) with my family for a holiday. During our visit our young daughter (Zoe, aged five years old) fell ill with the gastro flu. The two events that followed appalled me as a Greek and worse still as a passionate foreigner in your country. 1. Wrong prescription of medicine. We called for a doctor to come to our hotel (a five-star hotel and one of the best hotels in Athens) to see our daughter. He was a good doctor but prescribed a medicine called Primperan to stop our child's vomiting. A few hours after taking Primperan our child underwent a seizure and we had to rush her to the hospital (Παίδων Αγλαίας Κυριακού - Αριθμός Μητρώου 494883). On returning to Australia we were told that Primperan is banned for children under 10 years old as it stiffens their neck and face muscles and provides the appearance of the child having a seizure. We were appalled that this medicine is still administered to children under 10 years old in Greece. It should be immediately banned. 2. The appalling state of your hospital - the process through which our child was diagnosed and treated in the hospital was shocking. While most of the doctors and nurses are doing the best they can, the infrastructure and facilities they have available to them, for being an EU country, is wrong. In our ward there was no privacy between beds (for example, a simple curtain between beds), no toilet paper in the bathrooms (we brought our own), the level of hygiene in the ward (and cleanliness) was appalling and there was a basic lack of process with NO nurse regular check-ups occurring of not only our child but anyone's child in the ward. For heaven's sake, there were not even enough thermometers available to nurses to test the children’s temperature. This type of health care for a country that is proud and strong is appall- ing and must be attended to as a matter of urgency. The overall process from the time we were attended to at the emergency entrance, where our child had to wait two hours before even seeing a doctor (God knows what could have happened during this time), to our child not even being tagged on the hand or foot to ensure when the nurse did come around (very rare) that their statistics such as name and date of birth were clearly shown. This lack of process is a real risk in children being stolen or lost as well as being misdiagnosed. This whole process is wrong and should be fixed. It does not take money to fix this but a strong govern- ment willing to take on the establishment and fix the basic healthcare process for young children. Also the fact that the hospital did not know that Primperan can cause stiffness of the neck and face muscles of children under 10 years old is puzzling as this is well known by doctors in Australia, and Greece has a reputa- tion of having some of the best doctors in the world. Minister, I urge you to in- vestigate and fix these basic and appalling issues in the children’s hospital system. I am available anytime to speak with you personally or with anyone in your department to tell you our story, which I dare say is relived everyday by local Greeks. Cypriot communities to meet in SA The 44th Annual Conference of the Federation of Cyprus Communities of Australia and New Zealand is set to take place this month ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Cypriot representatives are preparing to meet in South Australia at the end of the month for the Federation of Cyprus Communities of Australia and New Zealand's 44th annual conference. Officially commencing on January 29, the three-day event will be officiated by the High Commissioner of Cyprus in Australia, Ioanna Malliotis. The conference is considered to be one of the most significant events on the Cypriot community's calendar, and federation president Michael Christodoulou AM says it is an opportunity to discuss important issues affecting the community both Down Under and abroad. "We're basically engaging with our communities within Australia, but also with what is happening in Cyprus,” he explains. “We speak about issues concerning women, seniors, businesses, how to trade with Cyprus, how to assist Cyprus. And of course a big issue for us is the Turkish invasion in Cyprus." Organisers of the event are expecting the attendance of representatives from all community groups, including a considerable number of youth members, which Mr Christodoulou says is very important for the community's future. "My personal belief has always been that engaging youth is very important to the survival of a community, so educating them is therefore very important. "What you want is for the youth to take over, and one way to do it is by having them engaged with you now, and eventually some of those kids join their local boards or committees. We have many examples of that," he says. One of the highlights over the years has been the high calibre of guest speakers; this year’s speakers are yet to be announced. Last year's conference, held in Sydney, saw archaeologist Dr Kathryn Eriksson present her findings based on the completion of her PhD on archaeology in Cyprus. While a resolution to the Cyprus issue remains high on the federation's agenda, the president stresses that local Cypriot communities will continue to be a big focus of the conference. "We need to maintain our grass roots; we should pay attention to our seniors and issues with women, especially health issues." The conference is set to take place from January 29-31, 2016. The opening ceremony will take place on Friday 29 January, 2016 at the Cyprus Community of SA, 6-8 Barpowell Road, Welland, SA at 7.30 pm. For further information, contact SA president Christos Ioannou on 0437 793 012 or via email ypruscommunitysa@ gmail.com Federation president Michael Christodoulou AM.
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