The Romanian healthcare and education have again reached headlines in international media outlets, as The Independent and AFP comment on these two issues in two separate articles.
In a piece called Romania’s hospital scandal: Babies left to die as doctors refuse to work without bribes, The Independent exposes a deficient healthcare system where bribes sets the cogs in the wheel in function.
“Patients in Romania- a member of the European Union – routinely discuss the “stock market” rate for bribes. Surgeons can get hundreds of euros and upward for an operation, while anaesthetists get roughly a third of that, depending upon what a patient can afford. Nurses receive a few euros from patients each time they administer medications or put in drips. Getting a certificate stamped to have an operation abroad can easily cost hundreds, if not thousands of euros if you ask the wrong doctor. While the Romanian state appears unwilling to do anything, it often ends up footing the bill,” says the article.
The Independent focuses on the dedication of Romanian doctor Catalin Cirstoveanu who runs a cardio unit with state-of-the-art equipment at a Bucharest children’s hospital where no single child has been treated in the year and a half since it opened. “The reason? Medical staff he needs to bring in to run the machinery would have expected bribes,” says the article.
“So Dr Cirstoveanu has launched a lonely crusade to save babies who come to him for care. He flies them to Western Europe on budget flights so they can be treated by doctors who don’t demand kickbacks,” the Independent explains, after previously touching, in the opening lead on the fate of infants in Ceausescu’s orphanages.
In a separate article on education, AFP comments that kindergarten education can be a way to break the vicious circle of poverty for children in gypsy communities.
The article focuses on the activity of non-governmental organization Ovidiu Rom that launched two years ago a project which facilitates poor children going to kindergarten so that, when they reach school age, there will be no gap between these children and those in more well-off families.
The article uses the example of a kindergarten in the Transylvanian village of Araci, which looks like any other kindergarten, but represents a chance for the poor children in the gypsy-dominated community.