19 Nov 14
Montenegro Health Minister Quits Over Baby’s Death
Health Minister Miodrag Radunovic has resigned in the wake of a row over infections in a maternity ward that claimed the life of a new-born baby.
Radunovic on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic had accepted his resignation, which followed an outbreak in a hospital in the town of Bijelo Polje.
Five babies recently become infected with a deadly virus, one of whom died on Sunday. Doctors confirmed that the babies had sepsis and meningitis caused by an infection.
Radunovic said he had lost a battle. “I won thousands [of battles] as a surgeon. This one I was unable to win because I got involved late,” the minister said.
“There are situations in which the whole of society is a loser. This is one of them. The loss of a life is a tragedy that should be warning and lesson for us all,” Radunovic said.
Several dozen people earlier staged a protest on Monday in the capital, Podgorica, demanding the resignation of the Health Minister over the death, highlighting the poor state of maternity wards in the country generally.
After the affair erupted on Sunday, the management of the maternity ward in Bijelo Polje was sacked and the director of the hospital, Tomislav Jeremic, resigned, on “moral grounds”.
The state prosecution said it had opened an investigation to determine responsibility for the infections in the maternity ward.
Both the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and several opposition parties on Tuesday agreed to held an urgent parliamentary hearing of top health officals.
A UNICEF report on the state of the Montenegrin maternity wards, released in 2013, said the quality of care for mothers, newborns and children in Montenegro was often substandard, especially when it came to information, communication, confidentiality and holistic care for mothers and children.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)