Health campaign funding was ‘mismanaged,’ says ministry

Health campaign funding was ‘mismanaged,’ says ministry

An investigation by public health service inspectors has found that state funding given to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) was partially mismanaged with unjustifiable sums spent on media campaigns, Health Ministry officials said on Thursday.

The inspectors’ report, which was handed to prosecutors, found that at least 1.5 million euros spent by KEELPNO on media campaigning between 2012 and 2014 was not justifiable.

“A sum of 1.5 million euros could have been saved as these were social messages that could have been aired for free,” Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis said.

There were questions too about another 1.5 million euros spent on campaigning in the same period. Polakis noted that some of the campaigns were for awareness about cancer and generic drugs which do not fall within KEELPNO’s remit. He said other periods would also be probed.

Health Minister Andreas Xanthos said some members of KEELPNO’s board should be held accountable but not the entire organization.

Polakis said that although the sums are relatively small, such mismanagement at a time of financial crisis is worrying. “The health sector is rife with illegality,” he said. “Some people might regard this as peanuts but it’s state cash.”

Fifteen advertising firms have come under scrutiny in connection with the campaigns.

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