VMRO-DPMNE: A Macedonian PET-centre

 

The PET-centre is planned to be a modern medical centre, equipped with the latest in radiopharmacy, radioprotection and diagnostics. The building itself is situated within the September 8 General Hospital in Skopje. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a contemporary diagnostic tool, providing shorter and more successful therapies of malignancy, an efficient follow-up to post-therapeutic treatments and timely diagnosis of potential relapses. To this aim, this year we will organise a training programme for the centre’s staff. The training will take place in medical centres throughout Europe, where PET is already widely used, so as to guarantee a full medical and engineering staff educated to work in the PET-centre by the end of 2014. Introducing this method in the Republic of Macedonia means we will have created conditions for greater efficiency in diagnostic procedures, improved quality of medical care and saved patients from traveling abroad. In addition, this is an opportunity for our country to grow into a true PET diagnostic centre for the region. Relevant institution: Ministry of Health. Budget: 381,140,000 denars. [Deadline: Building activities commencement November 2013, building activities completion February 2015, opening August 2015]

 

ARGUMENT

On June 21, 2014, the media informed of a visit from PM Nikola Gruevski and health minister Nikola Todorov to the PET-centre building site. The prime minister emphasised the progress made and said he expected completion within the February 2015 deadline.

“As this centre will offer diagnosis using nuclear materials, it is a rather specific structure, so the building process is completely compliant, advised and inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” said Gruevski [Retrieved on 14.01.2016]

On December 5, 2015, PM Nikola Gruevski announced the PET-centre will be opened by the end of the year.

“The PET-centre is crucial for the early diagnosis of malignancies and is of great significance not only for Macedonia but the region as well, as PET-centres like this are not found in every country. Our investment is about 16 million euros. The Centre is receiving its finishing touches and will be officially completed and opened this month. There will be a test period of several months, five or six months, in accordance with international procedure regarding such institutions,” said Gruevski [Retrieved on 14.01.2016]

December 6, 2015, saw the publication of an article claiming “Cancer diagnosing PET centre 10 months behind schedule”.

The completion of the PET-centre is 10 months behind schedule, as it should have been finished early this year. The building of the PET-centre, raised in the immediate vicinity of the September 8 General Hospital, commenced in October 2013, when the Ministry of Health signed the contract with the Austrian company Strabag AG. Minister Todorov then said the contract allows 16 months for completion, a period which ended in February this year. [Retrieved 14.01.2016]

In a statement for the newspaper, the Ministry of Health claimed that the deadline was postponed due to the technical particularities of this type of object and the tight tolerance allowed by the sophisticated equipment, as well as the additional work required as precondition for the radioisotope producing equipment.

The need for additional construction and the subsequent adjustment of the project resulted in slight delays. The building is approaching completion and the technical inspection should be completed in 20 days. The next phase will see the equipment installed, the production tested and the radiopharmaceuticals production process validated, and the PET-CT camera installed and validated, said the Ministry of Health. [Retrieved 14.01.2016]

 

To date (14.01.2016), no article on the completion of the PET-centre has been published. Thus, this election promise can be considered partially fulfilled.

 

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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