RNW Press Review, Friday 16 May 2008

16th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.

16 May 2008

Female doctors give better treatment
Today's AD reports that a study, which will be published in the Dutch Medical Journal on Saturday, shows that patients often receive better treatment from female doctors.

The study was carried out by Toine Lagro-Janssen, GP and professor of women's studies at the Nijmegen university hospital.

The paper writes that women doctors take more time to talk to their patients and pay more attention to their medical problems. Female doctors also work hard not to come across as "the person in the white coat who has all the answers, " while their male counterparts tend to emphasise their status as doctors.

Lagro-Janssen, whose study was prompted by a substantial increase in the number of female doctors, says that her conclusions also hold true for specialists, such as cardiologists and gynaecologists.

She says that she is concerned about the outcome of her study, as the rather big differences between male and female doctors are undesirable.

"Patients must be able to count on receiving equally effective treatment from both men and women. Also when it concerns gender-related complaints."

Lagro-Janssen writes in her study that female doctors are more comfortable with carrying out internal examinations on female patients, and the same applies to male doctors and male patients.

The professor writes there is a risk that doctors may overlook certain diseases because they are reluctant to carry out internal examinations on patients of the opposite sex.

Waste of money
De Telegraaf reports that the foreign ministry has published a report which shows that most of the money spent by development organisations on lobbying governments and corporations is wasted. The paper writes that "Projects lack effectiveness and efficiency."

NGOs like Hivos, ICCO and Oxfam Novib find it almost impossible to show any tangible results for the millions of euros of development money they spend on lobbying each year.

The ministry, which studied 62 different projects, came to the conclusion that only six of the projects were more or less effective, but if was not certain whether the results were proportionate to the amount of time and money invested.

The 62 projects in question were carried out between 2000 and 2004, when a total of EUR 212 million was spent on lobbying. In a reaction, Development Minister Bert Koenders said "there is room for improvement." He added that he believes the NGOs in question have bettered themselves.

Tired of living
On its front page, Trouw has an article about an investigation into the problems facing people confronted with questions about the termination of life.

According to the paper, Deputy Health Minister Jet Bussemaker wants to know whether doctors and other professionals have sufficient knowledge about the difference between euthanasia and palliative sedation.

She also wants to find out whether people realise what it means to be unable to give an informed consent and how that relates to dementia.

In parliament on Thursday, the minister said she was aware that "there are people for whom help is no longer enough." But she failed to indicate what, except for launching more educational campaigns, she would do with the results of the investigation.

The current coalition cabinet has agreed not to amend any laws on this subject and to refrain from conducting any experiments. Not surprisingly, the coalition parties have rejected a request from the Green Left party to investigate whether there is a need for help to people who "are tired of living."

In a motion, co-signed by the conservative VVD and the Democrats D66, the Green Left party asks for a clear scientific definition of people who are fully convinced "they done with living", without necessarily suffering from a terminal disease.

The Socialist Party said that "the real question is whether these shifting existential issues should be dealt with politicall." Green Left party leader Femke Halsema agreed, saying: "I'm not sure this capricious reality can be defined in political terms".

No exception for minors with DNA samples
De Volkskrant writes that the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that minors convicted of minor crimes must submit DNA samples even if there is little chance of recidivism.
In 2005, parliament approved a law under which DNA samples are taken from suspects older than 12 when convicted of a crime carrying a four-year maximum sentence.

Even though the law makes no exception for minors, several judges ruled that forcing children to submit DNA samples was taking things too far.

The Supreme Court has now ruled that the law does not allow making exceptions for minors.

 The Public Prosecutors' Office has expressed its satisfaction with the ruling, but a spokesperson for Defence for Children International called it "incomprehensible". These rulings are in violation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Taking DNA samples is a serious breach of privacy and a violation of the right on a second chance after a mistake during childhood. The law must change".

Campaign draws awareness to girls in developing countries
De Telegraaf has picture of Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak surrounded by 15 women MPs, all wearing lilac t-shirts bearing the slogan 'Because I'm a girl'.

The picture, taken outside the parliament building, is part of the launch of the 'Because I'm a girl' campaign which is intended to focus attention on the position of girls in developing countries.

Girls in these countries are often faced with genital mutilation, forced marriages, abuse and forces prostitution.

The Plan Nederland charity, which created the campaign, wants to provide these girls with a better future through a raft of measures, including education and putting and end to people trafficking.

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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