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12° Nicosia,
23 May, 2024
 
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Six years of oversight culminate in medicine warehouse catastrophe

Flooded medicine warehouse exposes government ineptitude

Eleni Xenou

Eleni Xenou

This quote poignantly illustrates the entrenched mindset of public administration, often characterized by inefficiency rather than efficacy. Time and again, we find ourselves lagging behind, only reacting or acknowledging issues after the damage has been done. The ensuing process is all too familiar: commitments to investigate responsibilities, followed by conclusions that are shelved away, out of sight and out of mind. The recent case of the flooded pharmaceutical warehouse, exposed by the "Phileleftheros" newspaper, is a stark reminder of this systemic flaw. This warehouse, intended to safeguard medicines for specialized treatments and essential supplies for state hospitals, should have been impervious to adverse weather conditions. Yet, it became yet another glaring example of bureaucratic incompetence, always trailing events, unable to foresee, let alone prevent, calamities.

When trouble strikes, everyone rushes to offer hindsight solutions, with political parties at the forefront, exploiting state shortcomings for their own gain, especially as elections loom. Meanwhile, responsible authorities feign innocence, turning a blind eye to escalating problems caused by their inaction or negligence, to the detriment of ordinary citizens. For six years, officials at the Ministry of Health were aware of the warehouse's inadequacy. Reports from the Audit Office since 2018 and pharmaceutical services in 2019 had highlighted this glaring issue. Yet, no action was taken. Excuses of pandemic disruptions and planned relocations to other bodies were offered, but in reality, nothing changed. Now, faced with the aftermath of destruction totaling 850,000 euros and 105,941 lost medicine packages, questions loom over the accountability of those who visited the warehouse during the warning period, the silence of high-ranking officials, and the inaction of those aware of the problem for years.

In response, the Ministry of Health's spokesperson vaguely assures that if responsibilities exist, they will be addressed. But this raises a fundamental question: what exactly does this "if" imply? Could it suggest a possibility that no one is accountable? How can we reconcile this with the clear warnings ignored for years? Is there a chance that officials will simply blame the storm, absolving themselves of responsibility? As citizens ponder these perplexing questions, the need for transparency, accountability, and proactive governance becomes ever more urgent.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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