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27.7.2007

Acting Ombudsperson: Lives at risk due to non-functioning hospital apparatus

Acting Ombudsperson Mr. Hilmi Jashari has raised grave concerns at the failure of the Kosovo Government to ensure that a coronary graphic apparatus purchased for the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo (UCCK) is made functional.
Purchased in 2003 at a cost of over 1.3 million Euros, the apparatus is used to scan the hearts of patients in potentially life-threatening situations. Its use is particularly valuable for patients who cannot afford to travel abroad for treatment. Today, over four years since it was purchased, the apparatus is still not functional.
“The UCCK possesses world-class technology that could save lives amongst Kosovo’s heart-disease patients,” Mr. Jashari said today. “And yet it cannot function without a specific monitor and software costing as little as a few thousand Euros. The situation is absurd—and disturbing.”
The Acting Ombudsperson began investigating the matter in June 2006, requesting information from the Minister for Health on what action had been planned to resolve the problem.
The Minister responded in July 2006 with the assurance that the equipment needed to make the coronary graphic apparatus operational would be purchased “soon”.
As the Ministry had failed to take any action in the months to follow, the Acting Ombudsperson reiterated his request in letters sent to Prime Minister Ceku in February and June 2007.
Despite over 12 months of repeated requests, however, the UCCK’s coronary graphic apparatus is still not functional.
The Acting Ombudsperson now calls on the Prime Minister and Minister for Health, in co-operation with the UCCK, to take urgent steps to resolve this issue. “Instead of avoiding such an urgent measure,” he concluded, “those responsible for purchasing this inexpensive equipment could be saving lives.”
The Ombudsperson Institution will continue to monitor this issue until it is resolved.
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