In the fist quarter of 2011, Czech doctors diagnosed a total of thirty-five new cases of patients infected with the HIV-virus. One case of AIDS ended fatally in the same period. The information was released Friday by the Czech Aids Help Society. To date, a total of 1557 cases of infection with the HIV-virus have been detected in the Czech Republic since 1986. Compared to other industrialized nations, the rate of infection in the Czech Republic is relatively low, however the Czech Aids Help Society warns that awareness of the risks of unprotected sex is still as important as ever, despite the fact that thanks to a number of new medications, HIV is no longer the death sentence that it once was.
Prague's Na Bulove hospital has dropped the controversial rule that forbade patients, including parents with children, to wear swimsuits when using the hospital's rehabilation pool. Hospital spokesman Jakub Hofmann said the rehabilation ward's head doctor cancelled the rule on Monday, declining any further comment. Czech TV reported on Friday that several patients complained about the rule; the report said preschool girls were often in the pool at the same time as adult men, as were young boys and adult women. A leading Czech sexologist, Petr Weiss, said that in more conservative countries, the practice could be labeled as sexual abuse of children.
The Czech Republic has become the eighth EU member state to approve the use of a cannabis-based medicine, the British-made Sativex. Czechs also rank among Europe’s top marihuana consumers, and possession of the illicit substance for personal use has been decriminalized. But the country is one of few members of the European Union that still ban the cultivation of hemp for medical purposes.
Czech doctors have come out against health care reform plans unveiled by Health Minister Leoš Heger at a conference in Průhonice near Prague on Saturday, charging the proposals gave too much power to health insurance companies. Under the plan, insurance companies could terminate contracts with private practitioners without having to provide a reason, something the head of the Czech Medical Chamber Milan Kubek said he was strongly against. The fear is that such changes would leave private practitioners at high risk, forcing them to toe the line regarding insurance companies. The Medical Chamber on Saturday also slammed plans for health care fees for visits to the doctor’s to be transferred directly to health insurance companies. Other changes proposed include raising the cost of visiting a specialist from 30 to 200 crowns for those without a referral from their GP.
The Czech Republic would be prepared to send medical staff to Libya within a possible humanitarian aid operation in the country, the Czech ambassador to NATO Martin Povejšil said after an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin on Thursday. He said the launch of such an operation was conditioned by a request from the United Nations. Mr. Povejšil was standing in for Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg who could not be present at the talks due to the ongoing government crisis.
Health minister Leoš Heger has announced that within a broad reform of the health system he wants to change the rules for fertility treatment. The minister has proposed curtailing the practice of multiple-embryo transfers in assisted pregnancies – in favour of single-embryo transfers on the grounds that it is the most inexpensive IVF method and least likely to result in high-risk multiple births.
Health Minister Leoš Heger told reporters on Thursday that he will send three reform bills regarding services and an amendment to the public health insurance act for their first reading in Parliament in early June. Among other things, the proposals include a 200 crown patient fee for outpatient care without a doctor’s recommendation, and fees of 90 crowns when visiting a doctor with which one is not registered. As opposed to current practice, the fees are intended to go towards the public health insurance system, meaning that health insurers would pay that amount less for care.
Increasing patient co-financing will be the very last step in reforms, Health Minister Leoš Heger has told Czech Television. Co-financing is currently at 17% and should not exceed 20%. Mr Heger said that the reform begins with health insurance companies; the package of 25 reform measures ensures that insurance companies with poor financial management will have to merge. The government is to discuss the first of Mr Heger’s proposals on Wednesday, an amendment to the public health insurance act to increase the daily cost of hospitalisation from 60 to 100 crowns per patient.
The police have uncovered an illegal marihuana plantation in the town of Židovice, north of Prague. During a raid on a former hops storage facility the police confiscated over 2,000 fully grown marihuana plants and arrested two Vietnamese nationals residing on the premises. The suspects have been taken into custody. If charged and found guilty they could face up to ten years in prison.
The Czech Republic is among the countries with the lowest rates of tuberculosis, the head of the Czech Pneumological and Physiological Society, Vítězslav Kolek said on Wednesday, the World Tuberculosis Day. Last year, 662 people contracted the disease in the country, with around 20 percent of them foreigners, Mr Kolek said. However, an increasing number of patients are resistant to common treatment of TB. According to data by the World Health Organization, the Czech Republic ranks 135th in the world, with less than 7 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 inhabitants.
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