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Cyprus

Health ministry chided for failing to act on procedures for children’s medical examinations

Children's rights commissioner Leda Koursoumba

Hospitals have still not been informed about a protocol ensuring the right of children to undergo tests and other medical procedures in the presence of their parents, even though it was prepared two years ago.

The issue was discussed at a session of the House human rights committee on Monday, and MPs decided to send a letter to the health ministry right away, asking why private and public hospitals have still not been notified and the protocol has not been implemented.

In statements after the session, committee chair Stella Kyriakidou said the presence of parents during medical examinations is a child’s right under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“It is very regrettable that this has not progressed,” she said, adding it had been decided to prepare a letter immediately, so that in three weeks when the committee discusses the subject again they will know what to do next.

She made it clear that the discussion does not concern the content of the protocol, only that it was not communicated to the hospitals.

On her part, child commissioner Leda Koursoumba said she received a reply to her own letter from the health ministry on the subject in June 2018, saying the protocol would be sent to all hospitals and all measures would be taken, but nothing had been done.

Koursoumba explained that according to the protocol, parents should be present during medical procedures unless doctors explain the reasons why they should not attend.

All these regulations are specified in the protocol, she added.

Akel MP Koursoumba said this was not the first time the committee had discussed issues and made decisions, the government promised to act and the promises have stayed on paper.

“This is such a mockery I really do not know what other institution has tolerated it,” she said.

Green Party MP Alexia Sakadaki stressed the members of the committee expect the health ministry to respond immediately and to implement the protocol at once.

The end of Koursoumba’s term as child commissioner was also a subject of discussion during the session. Kyriakides thanked the commissioner for her contribution to the post.

“Our children have greatly benefited from this institution, and it is impossible not to associate it with Mrs Koursoumba’s face,” she said.

A visibly moved Koursoumba replied she was pleased to see that the subject of children’s rights is now part of the public debate.

“Children should be visible and must be heard, and be taken into account.”

Koursoumba steps down on September 8.

 

 

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