Health matters

The recent blunt and unequivocal assertion by Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, to the effect that «health is a public commodity and citizens are equal in sickness, or at least they should be,» was satisfying to hear. Admittedly, Kaklamanis is a politician. But he is also a methodical, determined person who has proven that he does not say things he does not mean. However, the time has now come for him to transform words into deeds; and he must do this in a very sensitive and difficult sector where it has been shown that good intentions are just not good enough. A doctor himself, the minister is clearly «the man for the job.» But the fact remains that he has assumed a post which proved a hot potato for some of his predecessors. We have lost count of the number of reforms and renewals of the National Health System – which in itself demonstrates the inadequacy of whatever changes have been carried out in this sector. It is to be feared that many of the reforms undertaken in the state health sector were implemented under political pressure in order to provide some evidence of improved conditions. Thus it was reassuring to hear Kaklamanis say, in his recent television interview, that he is not interested in launching impressive-sounding projects during his term but rather in ensuring that initiatives will have an enduring impact.