Propose Targeted Health Services for Women

Icelandic doctors have expressed concerns about the idea of a dedicated health centre for women, a pilot project recently announced by Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir. Chief Physician of Women’s Services at the National University Hospital of Iceland says the criticism is based on misunderstanding of the project.

The Ministry of Welfare has assigned the developmental department of public health to implement two women’s health within existing health centres which would provide women with counselling and various services related specifically to women’s health. Svandís stated the project is intended to help professionals develop specialised skills in the area, strengthen health care service, and promote teamwork within health centres.

Targeted service

“Many doctors have been worried about this and there has been a lot of discussion online in our closed groups and so forth,” stated Þóra Steingrímsdóttir, Chief Physician of Women’s Services at the National University Hospital of Iceland. “But I think this is somewhat built on misconceptions and there is unnecessary fear that men are being excluded or projects taken away from them.” Þóra supports the project, saying it’s “quite a good idea.”

Áslaug Valsdóttir, chairperson of the Icelandic Association of Midwives, agrees that many doctors are misunderstanding the nature of the project. “I think they imagine some kind of big, centralised women’s health centre[…]staffed only by midwives who oversee everything. But that’s not at all the case. This is planned to be a small unit at each health centre. And really just to make service more targeted and not as dispersed.”

Áslaug says the project could make a big difference. “I think it’s a part of improving services for this particular group of women and as I understand it, the concept is a pilot project at one health centre in Reykjavík and one in the countryside. Then the project will probably be evaluated after one or two years and we’ll see whether it has delivered. I have faith in it.”

Men’s health equally important

Icelandic Director of Health Alma D. Möller expressed support for the project in a letter published on the Directorate of Health’s website. She added, however, that looking into men’s health is no less important, pointing out that life expectancy for Icelandic men is 3.4 years shorter than for Icelandic women.

Travellers Should Expect Icy Roads

Route One over Hellisheiði heath.

Drivers should expect wintery conditions around the country, RÚV reports, particularly on highland roads. Spots of ice have formed on Route One over Hellisheiði and Þrengslavegur (Route 39) in South Iceland, as well as on Route 36 to Þingvellir National Park.

Winter has arrived to other regions of the country more decidedly. Most mountain roads in the Westfjords have some ice and snow cover and are experiencing intermittent snowstorms. Roads are icy in North Iceland as well, including around Mývatn and the road to Dettifoss (Route 862). Most highland roads are impassable and closed for the season.

The Road and Coastal Administration draws attention to maintenance work on the north end of the Hvalfjörður tunnel between Reykjavík and Borgarnes, West Iceland. The speed limit in the area has been reduced to 30km/h and drivers are requested to respect signage in the area.

Travellers in Iceland are advised to check weather and road conditions before setting out on their journey.

No More Room at National Archives

The National Archives of Iceland have been housed at Laugavegur 162 since the 1980s.

The National Archives of Iceland (ÞSK) have temporarily stopped receiving government documents due to a lack of shelf space, RÚV reports. Representatives say the government has known about the situation since at least January, but has yet to solve the problem.

“We’ve stopped receiving documents,” Eiríkur G. Guðmundsson, an archivist at ÞSK, told Fréttablaðið. “Unfortunately we can’t accept any more before we know when we will get additional space.”

Eiríkur says it has long been known that ÞSK urgently needed more room in order to continue receiving documents from government ministries and institutions. Archives employees met with representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture in January to discuss the much-needed expansion. The Ministry told Fréttablaðið that the first phase of construction has been financed and the project is only waiting for a green light from the Ministry of Education. In the meantime, the government will have to rent additional space for the temporary storage of documents which the Archives cannot receive.