The number of cancer patients in the Czech Republic is on the increase, according to latest statistics. More people however are being saved from death thanks to timely modern care. The statistics show a 2% rise of cancer rates in men and 1.5% in women. In 2008 there were 77,541 new cases and 27,571 deaths. The most common type of malignant tumour in the country is skin cancer, which accounted for a fourth of all cancer in 2008, followed by intestinal, lung, and breast and colon cancer. Most of the patients were over sixty, though 171 children were also diagnosed and 40 died that year.
President Klaus has signed into law a bill which will formally end compulsory vaccination of children against tuberculosis, something that doctors have already started doing in practice. Child specialists have long advocated a change of law saying that the possible complications linked to the given vaccination far outweigh the risks of contracting the disease in present-day Europe. Vaccination will be recommended to parents of children in high-risk groups who travel to countries where tuberculosis is still a problem or those who have a family history of TB.
The dean of the medical faculty of Charles University Tomas Zima has warned Czechs against heavy drinking. He said Czechs frequently underestimate the danger of alcohol or even believe that a certain amount of alcohol daily is beneficial for their health. Recent figures show that on average Czechs over 15 consume 16.5 litres of pure alcohol per year, while the world average is 6.13 litres. An alarming trend is the growing number of women and teenagers who develop a dependency on alcohol.
A young Vietnamese man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for growing marijuana. Police found some 400 cannabis plants in a house near the eastern town of Opava. The 24-year-old has pled not guilty, saying he was paid 20,000 crowns a month to mind the house and the plants for a fellow Vietnamese. He said he was caring for the plants because he believed they were to be used as animal feed.
Plans to build a national centre of biotechnology and biomedicine in Vestec near Prague, are reported to have fallen through because the Defence Ministry has refused to transfer ownership of an unused plot of land to the Central Bohemia region. The 365 million crown project was to have been financed largely from EU funds. It is not clear why the ministry turned down the region’s request.
Czech centres for stroke treatment and rehabilitation have warned that due to low payments from insurance companies they are running into financial difficulties. The head of the Czech Neurological Society Ondřej Škoda said that unless local hospitals share the financial burden many of these specialized centres may be forced to restrict the number of patients they take on in the second half of 2011. The largest Czech health insurer VZP has said it is ready to negotiate the matter. Stroke is the second biggest killer in the Czech Republic.
Several thousand people demonstrated against the restriction of marijuana use in Prague on Saturday. An estimated 6,000, mostly young people marched through city centre to a park in Žižkov, dancing and distributing cannabis seeds, to support the legalisation of cannabis for medical and recreational use. Organisers asked the government to respect their rights by decriminalising the drug and its users. The protest is the fourteenth of its kind this year in Prague. Czech law currently allows possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana.
Prague police have arrested a group of fifteen Czechs and foreigners who are suspected of running a marijuana growing operation, a spokesperson for the police said Wednesday. The suspects come from Vietnam, Canada, and Eastern Europe. Police confiscated over 3000 marijuana plants, five cars and over a million crowns in cash in house searches; they also closed down ten high-capacity indoor growing facilities, as well as two storage facilities for growing equipment. Some of the suspects sold such equipment online as well as in shops across Prague. They could face prison sentences of up to 18 years.
The lower house of Parliament on Tuesday approved a proposal for a change in health care legislation, one of three that make up a planned reform of the country’s health care system. Under the new law, patients’ fees for hospitalization would be raised from 60 to 100 Czech crowns per day. The opposition Social Democrats have spoken out against the change in legislation and have announced that they will file a complaint with the Constitutional Court should the proposal be approved by the lower house’s health care committee, the next step in passing the new law.
The proposed reform of the country’s health care system will allow foreign women to undergo abortions in the Czech Republic. The Czech Health Ministry says current abortion legislation, approved in 1986, is in breach of EU regulations, the ministry said. A similar measure was included in the previous draft of health care reform, and was one of the reasons why it was rejected by the Czech Parliament. The ministry would like the lower house vote on the current proposal by the end of June.
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