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Daily Press Review – 2/12/2019

Promoting local agricultural products through tourism

The agriculture and tourism sectors are undoubtedly two of the main and vital sectors of the Cypriot economy. Meanwhile, mutual support by professionals involved in the chain of production and promotion of agricultural products is not only a necessity, but a wise choice to further advance their businesses. The 3rd Cyprus Agriculture Conference, presented by Hellenic Bank, which will take place on Wednesday 4 December, is an important conference dedicated to agriculture, focusing on the developments, prospects and policies in both Cyprus and abroad as it aims to further strengthening Cypriot Agriculture.

 

Trends of retail banking in Cyprus

Retail banking is facing changes due to digital reform. The new trends in retail banking in Cyprus was one of the topics of discussion during the 7th Cyprus Banking Forum. Hellenic Bank’s Retail General Manager Mr. George Karageorgis stated that banks need to make a step forward, but with their customers alongside them. The new generation requires 24/7 service, especially in the banking sector. He also said that it’s impossible to have so many branches open for a limited period with quite a few of restrictions.

 

The role of technology in the digital reform of banks

During the 7th Cyprus Banking Forum they also discussed technology’s role in the digital reform of banks. The recorded changes are happening rapidly, reshaping the sector in which banks operate. Emerging technologies impact dramatically the routine of European banks. But to what extent have the Cypriot banks adapted to the new situation? Charalambos Franjeskos, the Chief Technology Officer of Hellenic Bank, said that the prime objective is to introduce new technologies that will simplify customer interaction with complete security. He added that the bank’s situation has changed completely recently, following the completion of the full integration of Co-op and Hellenic Bank’s systems, highlighting that there are still many things that need to be done. One of which is to educate the public on the proper use of mobile and computer applications, as well as the proper use of ATMs for activities that can be done through ATMs, in turn reducing the queues at the cashiers. Meanwhile, Mr. Franjeskos stressed that the biggest challenge is to change the mindset of customers of former Co-op about using the new tools offered by the bank for their daily transactions.

 

Zero interest rates are here to stay

Large deposits have to endure zero interest rates due to banks’ recent actions in an effort to tackle their excess liquidity. The deposit rates have significantly reduced over the last few months and are expected to reduce even further. Banks aim to improve their net interest margin while reducing the cost imposed by the ECB due to the excess liquidity. To this end, Hellenic Bank has announced that they’ll impose a negative interest on large deposits for some time now.

 

Hellenic Bank receives 100 ESTIA applications

The ESTIA scheme is being extended to the end of 2019, giving another chance to eligible borrowers to submit their applications and benefit from the scheme. Hellenic Bank announced that until 27 November 2019, it’s only received 100 applications for the ESTIA scheme, which are being processed and/or gathering the relevant documents. In their announcement, Hellenic Bank encourages all potentially eligible borrowers to timely submit their applications, as it’s implemented support mechanisms for borrowers who need assistance in filling their application. The banks asks that anyone who’s interest to contact APS Debt Servicing Cyprus Ltd for further information.

 

BoC rewards superior academic achievements

In the context of its Corporate Responsibility Programme, BoC is rewarding superior academic achievements. During the graduation of the Open University of Cyprus, BoC gave financial rewards to a graduate who had the highest mark in a post-graduate course and two more to graduates who had the highest marks among the Faculty of Economics and Management.

 

RCB: high deposit rates and low NPLs

Moody’s published an updated analysis about RCB Bank, highlighting its high capital adequacy and its low NPLs rate. According to the RCB Bank’s announcement, the bank’s rating was reaffirmed as a B1, with stable prospect.

 

Cypriot banks at 62.2% cost-to-income ratio  

Cypriot banks have the 7th highest banking cost among other European countries. Looking into five banks of the island with the most employees, it emerges that Cypriot banks are at an 62.2% cost-to-income ratio. The champion of cost-to-income ratio are German banks (81.8%), followed by French banks (73.4%), UK banks (64.8%), Italian banks (64.2%), Austrian (62.8%) and Irish (62.7%). Kathimerini’s calculations are based on the latest available financial results by BoC, Hellenic Bank, AlphaBank, Astrobank, Eurobank. Hellenic Bank has the second worst performance as its 6-month results showed 65% cost-to-income ratio.

 

Strategic acquisition movements

AstroBank has set the bar high concerning its strategic expansion in the Cypriot banking market, by acquiring USB and the National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) more recently. The bank’s CEO Constantinos St. Loizides spoke to Phileleftheros over new acquisitions of smaller banks, and its plans to enter CSE in 2020 and subsequently Athens Stock Exchange. During the interview he was asked if he disagrees with Hellenic Bank’s decision to associate pay increases to efficiency. He said that in theory, Hellenic Bank’s move is correct and that’s the way it should be. However, he said that Astrobank had to comply with the increases, regardless of any official discussion with ETYK.

 

Hellenic Bank changes the face of male cancer

Hellenic Bank grew its moustache once again supporting the Movember Cyprus campaign with the slogan “Together we can change the face of male cancer”. The moustache was established as a worldwide trademark sign of Movember, which aims to raise awareness and collect money to tackle prostate cancer. Supporting the cause, Hellenic Bank’s ground floor was temporarily turned into an impressive “barber shop”.

 

Bank of Cyprus named Βest Foreign Exchange Provider in Cyprus

Bank of Cyprus has received the international recognition as the Best Foreign Exchange provider in Cyprus for 2020 by the accredited magazine «Global Finance». The accolade is a recognition of the Bank’s unceasing work in the area of FX research and analysis and the technological upgrades it has undertaken in relation to exchange markets. Criteria for choosing the Foreign Exchange Providers award winners included Global Finance also considered input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology specialists. The awards took into account factors such as innovation, improved efficiency, risk reduction and lower costs.

 

Europeans show record support for the euro

More than three in four citizens think that the single currency is good for the European Union, according to the latest Eurobarometer results. This is the highest support since surveys began in 2002. According to the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey on the euro area, 76% of respondents think the single currency is good for the EU. This is the highest support since the introduction of euro coins and banknotes in 2002 and a 2-percentage point increase since last year’s already record levels. Similarly, a majority of 65% of citizens across the euro area think that the euro is beneficial for their own country: this is also the highest number ever measured. The common currency is supported by a majority of citizens in all 19 euro area Member States.

 

Hellenic: Profits of €89.4m in first nine months of the year

With the slogan “Building a strong bank”, Hellenic Bank (HB) announced its nine-month results, recording a profit after tax of €89.4m. According to its announcement, the bank runs the largest network of branches and owns the biggest market share of deposits and advances to households, 38.5% and 29.8% respectively. It also has a strong CET1 ratio of 19.0% and Capital Adequacy Ratio of 21.5%, which is way above the requirements of supervisory authorities. The bank has also got a significantly de-risked balance sheet: NPEs ratio at 25.2% (or 31.8% incl. the APS -NPEs), and Net NPEs to Assets ratio at 4.0%(or 6.6% incl. the APS -NPEs). Statement by CEO Yannis Matsis: “Our nine-month 2019 financial results along with the resulting capital position demonstrate the robustness and solidity of the enlarged Hellenic Bank. Our business model is shaped to adapt with the rapid changes taking place, especially in the digital domain. Our plans aim in maintaining a sustainable profitability and in generating solid returns to our shareholders. Following the successful integration of the ex-CCB business, we can focus all our efforts to grow the Bank and to enhance the franchise, within a sound control and governance framework. We continue proving credit in a growing economy, by supporting all our viable clients, individuals, households and businesses alike. Approved lending during 9M2019 reached €572,5 million, thus improving the Bank’s loan market share from 19,5% as at 31st December 2018 to 21,1% as at 30th September 2019. At the same time, we are intensively working on normalizing our balance sheet considering both organic and non-organic options for resolving the NPEs. To achieve our goals, we rely and invest heavily on 2 areas: 1. Our staff, which is the driving force of the Bank, aiming to further improve productivity and upgrade their wellbeing, and, 2. Our Technology/Digitalization, aiming to radically transform clients digital experience and also simplify their time-consuming interaction with the Bank. I would like to sincerely thank our shareholders for their continuous support, empowerment and confidence shown to us, and assure them, that the whole team at Hellenic Bank remains fully committed to achieve its goals and strategic objectives. I also thank our customers who trust in doing business with us, our staff for their sacrifices, especially during last year, and all other stakeholders who interact with us.”

 

Koushos is particularly honoured for appointment as Government Spokesman

Kyriacos Koushos says he feels particularly honoured for the trust of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in him, after the announcement that he is being appointed as Government Spokesman in the latest Cabinet reshuffle. Koushos, who succeeds Prodromos Prodromou, says he aims to have a good cooperation with journalists. Speaking to CNA, Koushos thanked President Anastasiades for the honour to appoint him and expressed hope that he will meet his expectations. He also assured journalists for his appreciation for their role and said he was committed to have a productive cooperation with media representatives. “The President proposed that I should take over as Government Spokesman, a very honourable position for me and I believe I can fulfil this task, in order to help the President and the government,” he said. Koushos was born in Famagusta in 1952 and studied Law in National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He is practicing law for over 40 years and is a senior partner at Koushos, Korfiotis, Papacharalambous LLC. He has served amongst others, as the Vice- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hellenic Bank, Deputy Mayor of Strovolos and President of Anorthosis FC. President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday reshuffled the government, moving the current Interior Minister to the Finance Ministry and appointing Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos as Transport Minister. Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou moves to the Education Ministry. The reshuffle was anticipated. Outgoing Finance Minister Harris Georgiades had earlier announced his decision to step down before the end of the year and before this week’s 2020 budget speech in the House of Representatives. His portfolio will be taken by current Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides. Disy MP for Nicosia Nicos Nouris was named the new Interior Minister. Ayia Napa mayor Yiannos Karousos will take the Transport Ministry, replacing Vassiliki Anastasiadou. Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromos was appointed government spokesman, replacing Costas Hambiaouris who was named Commissioner for Mountain Communities, replacing Yiannakis Papadouris who resigned last week. The deputy government spokesman Klelia Vassiliou was named Environment Commissioner, replacing Ioanna Panayiotou. The new deputy government spokesman is Panayiotis Sentonas, until now president of the Youth Organisation. The new ministers will be sworn in on Tuesday and the new Commissioners will take up their duties on Wednesday.

 

The three surprises of the reshuffle

On the topic above, Alithia reports that there were three surprises in the government reshuffle: Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos appointed as Transport Minister, lawyer Kyriakos Koushos as government spokesman and Costas Hambiaouris from education minister to commissioner. The other changes were known from beforehand. (adds Koushos’ announcement as above).

 

Interest rates to drop again

The banks are slowly but surely leading to zero deposit rates, before moving on to negative deposit rates. The first move can be seen through the ever-dropping interest rates. The second has started being implemented on large deposits, and is expected to extend to other areas as well. The aim is for the banks to get rid of their excess liquidity. To this end, Bank of Cyprus’ customers have been informed that as of 31 January 2020, certain deposit rates will be reduced. 8-day notice accounts will have a rate of 0%. This is the case today too, but those with deposits of over €100,000 have a 0.02% deposit rate. 35-day notice accounts will have a 0.03% deposit rate, while e-notice 35 days will have a 0.05% rate. 90-day notice accounts and e-notice 90 days will have 0.08% and 0.10% respectively, while 180-day notice accounts and e-notice 180 days will have a rate of 0.12% and 0.15%. The paper reminds that Hellenic Bank has already implemented a negative deposit rate, while there are four other countries in the EU that have followed this move: Luxembourg (-0.11%), Germany (0.09%), The Netherlands (-0.05%) and Belgium (-0.05%).

 

The new battles of the outgoing finance minister

Harris Georgiades may have left his finance ministry post, but he is still in the political scene. In an interview with Politis, be speaks among other about the economic crisis, the Co-op and the Cyprus problem. On the Co-op specifically, he is asked whether he thinks different decisions should have been made. He says the 2014 decisions were the only alternative option to imposing a haircut on people’s deposits. Also, he said the 2018 developments were not negative. They ensured stability and confidence, and led to immediate upgrades, including of the island’s investment rating. And thirdly, it was never on the table to keep the Co-op nationalised. Its privatisation, one way or another, was a given. Pointed out that it was a difficult time, Georgiades concedes that it was, and that this was due to the rumours that were being spread ahead of the presidential elections, over a haircut at the Co-op being on the cards. This meant the decision to shutter the co-op was made under very unfavourable conditions. “On the one hand, we were trying to attract foreign investors to provide capital, and on the other we were trying to contain the outflow of deposits, which certain irresponsible individuals had provoked. They are the same people who reminisce about the Co-op today,” he said.

 

Finance Ministry faced with challenges

Constantinos Petrides is taking on one of the hardest portfolios; that of the finance ministry. He is facing a series of challenges, one of the biggest being to conclude the government’s reform agenda, which includes denationalisations of semi-government authorities such as Cyta and the concession of the State Lottery to a private investor. He is also anticipating the Supreme Court ruling on the reinstatement of government employees’ salaries, which could cost a collective €900m. There is the fiscal impact of the general health system to consider, while the possibility of a harsh Brexit could impact on tourism, shipping revenue and the inflow of direct foreign investments. As for the banks, there is still the challenge of reducing NPLs, the Estia scheme and the sales of NPL portfolios. And last but not least, there is the controversial citizenship-by-investment scheme to deal with.

 

EKYSY sends another plea to the banks to stop excessive charges

Pensioners’ association EKYSY Dali-Strovolos has sent another plea to the Finance Ministry and Central Bank, urging them to intervene and legally protect the public, and especially pensioners, from the arbitrary excessive charges imposed by the banks, especially when it comes to paying water, telephone and electricity bills.

 

Anti labour policies to end here and now

Orchestrated actions are leading the countries’ ports to new adventures. The article reports that the authoritative and anti-labor attitude that the private managers of the port of Limassol insist upon, are leading port workers to a strike as their only option for claiming their rights. Speaking of orchestrated actions by employers, the port workers’ trade union SEGDAMELIN-PEO announced a strike beginning this Sunday. This is due to the fact that DP WORLD Limassol has decided that from 1 December it will carry out the work of the port workers using its own staff, ignoring the call of the Ministry of Transport for intensive consultations to resolve this dispute, in contrast to the port workers’ positive response. “Rest assured that port workers will not remain idle when their jobs are being taken away from them,” the union says, noting that port workers are paid a daily wage, and when they are not called for work they are paid nothing, so “based on these facts, their claim for the work they have been doing for decades remains unchanged.”

 

Limassol destination for all seasons

Limassol is seeking with determination and ingenuity to win an even greater share of the tourism by trying to promote new products which are attractive to more specialized tourism. Based on international trends in the tourism sector the Limassol Tourism Development and Promotion Company has taken on vigorous initiatives in recent years both for the enrichment and the upgrading of the Limassol tourism product.  The initiatives are intended to address the issue of seasonality as well as the city’s need for even greater visibility as a tourist destination in particular on the Internet. Maria Stylianou Michaelidou, General Manager of the Limassol Tourism Company referring to the prospects of the tourist traffic stressed that trough the Company’s participation in the recent London Tourism Fair and keeping up to date with developments in the field this year is expected to close with a positive outlook while there is moderate optimism for next year.

 

Fuel storage facilities moving from Larnaca

By the end of this year, Petrolina’s fuel storage facilities will be ready for relocation from Larnaca to Vasilikos. Already another company’s those of Esso have moved from Larnaca, while the facilities for EKO are progressing along. Based on these developments, Mayor of Larnaca Andreas Vyras Says the issue of relocation of oil installations is considered closed and well on track.

 

Melco: Dedicated to creating a better future

Melco Resorts & Entertainment, a world leader in the leisure and entertainment sector, which owns and operates Integrated Casino Resorts (ICR) in Asia and Europe, aims to become one of the main drivers of growth in the Cypriot economy and a reliable partner of the local community. Melco, along with its partners, the Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Limited, a member of CNS Group, have successfully obtained a 30-year license agreement to develop and operate City of Dreams Mediterranean, the largest ICR in Europe and the region. City of Dreams is expected to open its doors to the public by the end of 2021 in Limassol, with far-reaching benefits for the country. Nevertheless, the positive impact has already been seen, given that almost a year and a half since the start of its activity in Cyprus, the Company is currently successfully operating, three satellite casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca and Ayia Napa as well as the temporary casino in Limassol, under the brand name Cyprus Casinos “C2”. The last satellite casino will be inaugurated in Paphos very soon. Melco has set ambitious goals and focuses on combining its social and environmental achievements, in order to create high-quality jobs and promote the local culture while being careful as it comes to its environmental impact since it wishes to promote a sustainable future. The article also refers to Melco’s responsible gaming policies and its aspiration to become an employer of choice for local citizens providing career opportunities in the entertainment industry worldwide.

 

Limassol, a year-round destination

Limassol is claiming an even greater share of the “tourism pie”, by promoting new products that can potentially attract even more specialised tourism. Based on the international trends of the tourist sector, the Limassol Tourism Promotion and Development Company (ETAPL), has taken up initiatives in order to enhance and upgrade Limassol’s tourism product, tackle seasonality as well as promote the city and region of Limassol as a tourist destination, especially online. The director of ETAPL, Maria Stylianou said that the Limassol Tourism Promotion and Development Company as the official tourism body of Limassol, is intensifying its efforts so as to make Limassol a year-round tourist destination, with multiple activities and an upgraded tourist product meeting the needs of the contemporary visitor. According to Mrs Michalidou, the Company’s strategic goals include promoting planning and development in the wider region of Limassol, such as the grandiose casino-resort, which includes a conference centre as well as smaller projects that will contribute to develop and enhance the tourist product, to the effective promotion to countries-sources of tourism, and the attraction of high-quality visitors throughout the year.

 

Interview with Pantelis Leptos from Leptos Group of companies

Interview with Mr Pantelis Leptos, Deputy President of the Leptos Group of companies. After contributing to the development of Paphos with multiple projects, Leptos Group of Companies is now going to the city and district of Limassol. The projects that are under development in Limassol, will create up to 1,000 vacancies during the construction phase, as well as more than 200 permanent positions after the projects are completed, without calculating their multiplier effect on the market. The company’s vision to create landmark projects in Limassol is fully in line with the vision of the authorities that want to make Limassol a city of crucial importance in the area, both as it comes to entrepreneurship and the tourism and entertainment sector, attracting both businesspeople and high-wage tourists. Today, conglomerates from around the world have invested and have financial interests in the central and western Limassol establishing the area as the steam engine of the Cyprus economy. Pantelis Leptos goes into detail about these companies and says that an indicative example is Melco from Hong Hong, the casino-resort that was the biggest investment that was ever made in Cyprus, the Limassol port investors from Dubai and Germany and the hydrocarbon exploration companies from the US, Europe, Israel and Qatar active at the Limassol port. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that the region is now a business hub for shipping, IT, fintech companies etc. who have offices in Cyprus.

 

Celine Dion releases new album

Five-time Grammy winner, Celine Dion released a new album, getting positive reviews. It is an album with new ballads and up-tempo songs. The disco includes 16 songs, and 4 more in the deluxe edition. The successful performer celebrated the circulation of the Courage and presented the music video for the title song. Celine Dion has already presented many songs from her new album, during the Courage World Tour. The amazing live show that is getting triumphant critiques will be presented by Melco and City of Dreams on Sunday, 2 August at 20:30 at the GSP stadium in Nicosia. Thousands of tickets have already been sold for the concert that is powered by Super FM.

 

Stoiximan supports Despina foundation at Larnaka Marathon

Stoiximan, the biggest betting company in Cyprus supports the work of the charitable organisation, Despina, the only foundation in Cyprus for children with diabetes. In the framework of the 3rd Radisson Blue International Larnaka Marathon, the company organised its first joint action with the foundation’s officials, at Stoximan’s booth in Finikoudes. There, Stoiximan presented the foundation’s officials with a cheque that will go towards the future activities of the foundation. Thousands of athletes and visitors passed by the booth, where they were informed about the foundation’s goals.

 

2020 state budget is being finalised

The discussion on the state budget for 2020 is expected to conclude today, with the presentation of the Labour Ministry’s budget at the House Finance Committee. The discussion will begin on 9:15 am. The budgets of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, the National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission, the Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organisation and the Single Agency for the Out of Court Settlement of Financial Disputes will also be discussed. Among other things, the Commission’s MPs will also be called to discuss and state their opinion about the governmental amendments of the 2020 state budget as well as a blueprint for the Committee’s report on the parliamentary party suggestions for amendments to the 2020 state budget. This coming Friday, the new Minister of Finance, Constantinos Petrides will present the 2020 state budget to the Parliament, while the House Plenary’s discussion on the state budget will follow within the first two weeks of December. The budget is expected to be approved with the votes of DISY, DIKO and the Solidarity party.

 

It is high time that hoteliers assumed responsibility

The tourism industry is now entering a new era following the signing of the new collective agreement. The agreement reached is considered to be a determining factor for the tourist sector and the economy at large and its implementation is expected to play a crucial role in the consolidation of labour peace during a pivotal period for our tourism industry that according to the government’s strategic plans, seeks to place greater emphasis on the quality of the services offered as well as enriching the tourism product and Cypriot hospitality. The four-year agreement provides the basis for long-term employment peace in the hotel industry.

 

Kato Paphos port tourism traffic declining

For the first time perhaps, traffic at the Kato Paphos harbour and port is declining. Local businessmen believe that the area has suffered a huge blow and that rising rents have forced businesses to close. “The reality is that the port traffic mainly comes from foreign visitors and less from locals», according to an informed source. ‘In recent years however, the decline in tourist traffic is even greater and is a result of the all-inclusive terms offered by the hotels that keep the guests inside their hotels.’

 

Tourist Police with a spin

One of the main goals of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism was the creation of a Tourist Police force. The Deputy Ministry prepared a relevant bill last summer, which it discussed with the relevant ministries, estimating that the tourist Police will significantly help tackle the noise pollution problem. As the Deputy Ministry stresses, establishing a tourism Police force will be serve as the basis to settle differences or even issues related to the safety, health and quality of the offered product that is enjoyed by local and foreign visitors. Over the course of discussions with the Ministries of Justice and Interior Affairs it was decided that creating a Municipal Police force would be a more appropriate and practical solution. This police force would also settle the problems of the tourist industry. From the beginning, the Deputy Minister of Tourism argued that tourist issues should be dealt with by the local authorities. Noise pollution, four-wheel bikes, the illegal sale of laughing gas and alcohol as well as the order of beaches, are the five issues that the Deputy Ministry is faced with. The Deputy Ministry is studying the legislations currently in place, in order to amend them if it deems that they need to be improved. It recognizes that the biggest issue is their implementation. In the framework of the Local Administration reform, the Municipalities will get additional powers to maintain order within their borders. Therefore, after a negotiation with the stakeholders, it was decided that the Municipal Police will be able to assume competencies for issues relevant to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.

 

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Antibiotics used to be an efficient solution against deadly infections, while today they’re considered to be cheap daily treatments, usually overprescribed and overconsumed, ignoring the risks due to their excessive consumption. In fact, in many countries they’re even supplied without a prescription. This led to the era of “supergerms” for which treatment options span from limited to none. Additionally, the overconsumption of antibiotics leads to an increased risk of hospitalisation, higher risk of adverse reactions and increased use of healthcare resources. The need to ensure the efficacy of antibiotics in the future has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASP) in hospitals, long-term care facilities and community units. The four main pillars of an ASP are to maintain the efficacy of antibiotics, raise awareness among the general public, health professionals as well as veterinarians, develop new diagnostic methods and support the development of new antibiotics. There are also two innovative approaches to correct use of antibiotics; stop and think and shorter is better.

 

Taking medicines during pregnancy

One of the greatest concerns of pregnant women is taking medicines during pregnancy and whether they’re safe for the foetus. Not without reason, as in the past there were cases of pregnant women who faced complications during labour or whose children were born with anomalies due to the consumption of medicines during pregnancy. Looking at the labels of most medicines, their consumption by pregnant women must be avoided unless otherwise instructed by a physician. This is mainly due to the fact that legally, clinical trials on pregnant women are discouraged or prohibited, so most data is derived of pre-clinical studies when pregnant women ought to be taking medicines or following their approval. Collecting this data, pharmaceutical companies and relevant authorities can gradually identify which medicines have none or nearly no consequences for both the mother and the child, and therefore approve their administration during pregnancy.

 

Young people’s questions about the GHS

The Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou met with high school students and answered their questions about the GHS, and other matters relating to his position. The Health Minister spoke about the biggest reform since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus for an equal, universal system for the entire population. Young people had quite scathing and substantial questions on matters relating to patients, pharmaceuticals, abuses and controls, the A&E departments and many more. Students also expressed their thoughts on medical and pharmaceutical degrees and job prospects in Cyprus following the GHS’ implementation. They also shared their concerns over drug shortages and the integration of more doctors and hospitals in view of the second phase of the GHS.

 

Measures announced

State doctors announced on Friday that they will take strong measures in December. State doctors’ union PASYKI said that they decided to strike – beginning with a three-hour work stoppage on 13 December – because of the number of doctors fleeing the public health sector (due to the lack of incentives), the general situation at the state hospitals and the indifference shown by OKYPY. The doctors said that if OKYPY fails to show an interest in resolving the problems being faced at state hospitals, the measures will escalate, without excluding the possibility of 24-hour strikes. Among the state doctors’ main demands is the provision of financial incentives, on the one hand to keep current doctors from fleeing, and on the other to attract new ones. They also want OKYPY to take the necessary measures to improve the current situation at the hospitals. PASYKI head Soteris Koumas told Politis that the union decided at a board meeting on Friday to react. The board’s decision will be relayed to its members from 9 until 12 December, who will then decide at local general meetings whether to approve the decision.

 

Children’s medical examinations in presence of parents

Parents must be in the room when their children are being examined by a doctor. This used to apply in the past; however, parents were banned from the examination room with the excuse that they were obstructing the doctors from providing the correct medical attention to their children. This provoked a reaction from parents, who said young children get scared when left alone with their doctor. So, it was decided that the policy would be changed and that a relevant Protocol will be introduced for public and private hospitals. So far, the Protocol has not yet been sent to the House, even though the relevant deadline was 25 September, which has prompted Solidarity MP Michalis Georgallas to send a question to the Health Ministry, asking for clarifications. Responding, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said among other that seeing that the protocol in question has to do with child safety, the provision of proper healthcare but also the fact that it must be faithfully implemented by all involved, the relevant services decided that it would be best that the protocol is sent anew to the stakeholders, namely the Cyprus Medical Association and OKYPY, for confirmation. Once the aforementioned procedure is completed and provided that all parties agree, the protocol will be finalised and tabled at the House.

 

Nurses and midwives the pillars of the GHS

Achieving the goal of improving the quality of healthcare services during these significant reforms relies heavily on the skills of the human resources, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Friday, addressing the launch of the 26th Pancyprian Nurses and Midwives Convention, in the presence of members of the International Council of Nurses. Ioannou said that nurses and midwives, as the largest professions in the health sector, have the experience and knowledge, and lead the way when it comes to improving the efficiency and performance in the provision of qualitative healthcare and the improvement of treatments in the new environment of hospital autonomisation and the introduction of the GHS.

 

Pyrgos Tyllirias a “headache” for OKYPY

The Ministry of Health is solving one problem and another two are popping up at the Rural Health Centre of the remote Pyrgos Tyllirias. The State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) is constantly stressing out, since the needs of the residents need to be covered seamlessly, due to the specificities of the district. While there was a problem with the lack of a doctor in the Centre in September, this issue was settled with the placement of two Greek doctors in the Centre. At the same time, another problem was solved as a cardiologist visits the Centre every two weeks. However, another issue has arisen due to the resignation of the pharmacist who was serving the district. OKYPY still hasn’t managed to hire a new pharmacist to cover the needs of the residents. In fact, according to the Community leader of Pyrgos, Nicos Cleanthous huge problems have been created and residents are not able to obtain pharmaceuticals because there is no permanent pharmacist who would place the orders. As a result patients cannot find drugs and in some cases they are forced to go to the occupied areas to obtain drugs, with the consequences that this entails.

 

44 vacancies in the public sector

44 new vacancies have been announced in the public sector with an emphasis on health as well as other sectors. The newly-established OKYPY in Nicosia is aiming to hire an experienced and dynamic person in the position of Executive Director. The term of the contract will last four years or less, so as not to exceed the set retirement age. The annual salary stands at €70,685 plus €6,565 in general salary growth and the cost of living allowance that today stands at €28,35 and is revised on the basis of general and incremental raises granted to the rest of the managerial staff. Additionally, the person will receive a 13th salary. On the basis of today’s data, the annual gross salary including any entertainment expenses amounts to €122,826.54.

“Communities can make a difference”

On the occasion of World AIDS day, the Commissioner of Volunteerism and NGOs congratulated the HIV / AIDS Support Center which was founded in 2000 and is actively supporting people living with HIV/AIDS as well as their families and partners. The theme of this year’s World AIDS day aims to recognise the important role of communities in mobilising actors against AIDS at a global, national and local level. The term communities includes trainers, people living with HIV or people who have been affected by it, healthcare professionals, civil society and activists. The office of the Commissioner of Volunteerism and NGOs is taking serious consideration of the statistical data of the World Health Organisation for 2018 according to which 37.9 million people were living with AIDS at the end of the year. 1.7 million people were infected by the virus in 2018 and 770,000 people passed away by causes related to HIV. The goal is to limit new cases of HIV to 500,000 by 2020. According to the announcement, it is rather encouraging that out of the 37.9 million people living with the virus in 2018, 79% were examined, 62% were receiving treatment and 53% managed to suppress HIV, reducing the risk of infecting others. Politis also reports that between January and October 2019 there were 70 new HIV incidents in Cyprus – five more than the respective period of last year, according to a press release at the Ministry of Health on the occasion of the World HIV/AIDS Day. According to statistical data, there were 78 incidents in 2018, an incident more than 2017.

 

Smoking: 6 foods that help cleanse the lungs

A Healthy diet as well as lifestyle changes can help you clear nicotine from your body. There are some foods that help the body fight off and naturally cleanse the body from nicotine. The six best foods are: 1)Broccoli: rich in vitamins C and B5 and helps as smoking reduces the levels of vitamin C. 2) Oranges: orange juice is rich in vitamin C, which will boost your metabolism and reduce stress that is a cause of seeking nicotine. 3) Carrot juice: Nicotine also damages your skin and carrot juice is good to for the skin as it is rich in vitamins A, C, K and B. 4) Spinach: It’s one of the best vegetables for health as it is rich in both vitamins and folic acid. 5) Kiwis: this “miracle” fruit is rich in vitamins A, C and E, which are reduced when smoking. 6) Water: smoking dehydrates the body and according to studies, water can help rid the body of nicotine when you quit smoking.

 

Cypriots can’t quit bad habits

Overweight, smoking like chimneys, consuming plenty of alcohol, with a bad diet since birth and limited physical exercise. These are Cypriots who despite all these facts, still claim to feel great about their health! The health profile of Cypriots, as portrayed in the recent EU service for 2019 raises concerns. On the one hand, 8 in 10 Cypriots claim to be well and healthy, but on the other hand, it appears that the “bad habits” that are very damaging to our health are not so easy to quit…

 

Vaping causes “popcorn lung” damage

Researchers in Canada have identified a new kind of vaping-related lung injury they believe is linked to flavourings in conventional vape pens, causing symptoms similar to the “popcorn lung” injury seen in workers exposed to flavourings in microwave popcorn. The case, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, involved a 17-year-old male who developed a form of bronchiolitis, a serious and irreversible lung injury caused by chemical exposure. The condition has been linked to diacetyl, the chemical that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavour and a known cause of bronchiolitis. Various studies have also found diacetyl in vaping liquids. The previously healthy Canadian teen turned up in the emergency department of a community hospital in Ontario last spring with a severe cough. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics. Five days later, he was back with worsening symptoms and was admitted and given intravenous antibiotics. He continued to decline and was put on a mechanical ventilator, but still failed to improve. Although the case shares similarities with the more than 2,000 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the United States, the injury is different. Instead of damaged air sacs in the lungs, the teen had damaged airways, which his doctors believe were caused by chemical injury. “This is a new finding,” Bosma said. Several vaping chemicals could have caused the injury, she said, but the team focused on diacetyl because it has been shown to cause similar illnesses.

 

Cancer is 33% due to diet  

According to the World Health Organisation and the International Cancer Institute the causes of cancer are smoking (30%), bad diet (33%) and heredity (5%). The remaining 32% causes are made up of radiation, viruses and hormones. We live in an era where each food could potentially be a harmful option. Vegetables due to pesticides or meat due to the hormones that animals are fed with. Experts generally suggest choosing a variety of foods and consuming them fresh and natural.

Οι ιδιοκτήτες της ιστοσελίδας www.politis.com.cy διατηρούν το δικαίωμα να αφαιρούν σχόλια αναγνωστών, δυσφημιστικού και/ή υβριστικού περιεχομένου, ή/και σχόλια που μπορούν να εκληφθεί ότι υποκινούν το μίσος/τον ρατσισμό ή που παραβιάζουν οποιαδήποτε άλλη νομοθεσία. Οι συντάκτες των σχολίων αυτών ευθύνονται προσωπικά για την δημοσίευση τους. Αν κάποιος αναγνώστης/συντάκτης σχολίου, το οποίο αφαιρείται, θεωρεί ότι έχει στοιχεία που αποδεικνύουν το αληθές του περιεχομένου του, μπορεί να τα αποστείλει στην διεύθυνση της ιστοσελίδας για να διερευνηθούν.