The Health News – 22 May 2015


Overview

  • The Western Australian Premier has vowed Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) will stay open despite increasing uncertainty surrounding the facility’s future, while denying he has broken an election pledge to upgrade the ageing facility.
  • UN rights experts have criticised South Korea for demanding that a New Zealand woman undergo an HIV test before renewing her teaching contract, insisting she should be paid compensation.
  • Guinea and Sierra Leone have reported 35 new Ebola cases in the past week, four times as many as the week before, in a reminder that the virus “will not go quietly”, a top World Health Organisation official says.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-21/barnett-denies-lack-of-funding-for-rph-revamp-is-broken-promise/6486842

The Western Australian Premier has vowed Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) will stay open despite increasing uncertainty surrounding the facility’s future, while denying he has broken an election pledge to upgrade the ageing facility.

In 2008, the Liberal government pledged to inject $180 million to revamp the city hospital.

But the Health Minister conceded the state’s financial woes, which included projected spiralling debt and Government deficits, forced the project onto the backburner.

A day later, Treasurer Mike Nahan said he received advice that fixing the existing RPH facility “could be more costly in an operating sense”.

Premier Colin Barnett said today no decision had been made about what would ultimately happen at the site, but that the facility would remain open.

However, Mr Barnett added fuel to the prospect flagged by the Treasurer that the most viable option might be to demolish and rebuild the facility, saying Mr Nahan “may be right”.

“We have allocated about $20 million to make some immediate repairs that are needed … so that it continues to operate,” he said.

“How the site will ultimately be redeveloped is yet to be determined.

“We will not close Royal Perth Hospital, it continues today and it will continue into the future.”

The Australian Medical Association called for the promise to redevelop RPH to be kept, accusing the Government of having “lost the plot” in its management of the health portfolio.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-20/un-experts-criticise-s-korea-for-demanding-expat-take-aids-test/6485424

UN rights experts have criticised South Korea for demanding that a New Zealand woman undergo an HIV test before renewing her teaching contract, insisting she should be paid compensation.

The woman, identified in the media as Lisa Griffin, did not have her contract renewed in 2009 after she refused to undergo the test, which is not required of ethnic Korean teachers.

She maintained that the mandatory test was “discriminatory and an affront to her dignity”.

Ms Griffin’s employer, the Ulsan Metropolitan Office of Education, had said that HIV/AIDS tests were “viewed as a means to check the values and morality of foreign English teachers”, a UN statement said.

Foreigners who come to South Korea to teach English, and engage in some other occupations, were reportedly also required to undergo criminal background checks and tests for illegal drug use.

South Korean nationals in equivalent jobs were not required to do so.

South Korea has said it scrapped the HIV/AIDS tests for expatriate teachersin 2010.

The Geneva-based Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said the HIV/AIDS test “does not appear to be justified on public health grounds or any other ground and is a breach of the right to work without distinction to race, colour, national or ethnic origin”.

It called on South Korea to grant Ms Griffin “adequate compensation for the moral and material damages she suffered”.

It also said South Korea should “counter any manifestations of xenophobia, through stereotyping or stigmatising, of foreigners by public officials, the media and the public at large”, and gave the country 90 days to inform the committee of the steps it has taken.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-20/35-new-ebola-cases-recorded-in-guinea-sierra-leone/6482354

Guinea and Sierra Leone have reported 35 new Ebola cases in the past week, four times as many as the week before, in a reminder that the virus “will not go quietly”, a top World Health Organisation official says.


The 35 new cases in the week to May 17 were in six districts of Guinea and Sierra Leone, with most infections in Guinea, Mr Aylward said, giving no breakdown of the preliminary figures.

A total of nine were confirmed the previous week.

Liberia, the other worst-hit country, was declared Ebola-free earlier this month.

The WHO said this week it is setting up a $US100 million contingency fund to ensure that it will not be “overwhelmed” by a major crisis again as it was with Ebola, which has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013.

Guinea’s health minister Remy Lamah said authorities were searching out Ebola cases but traditional cultural practices, such as washing dead bodies, were still proving hard to overcome.

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