'Tats' and tales

The Health Ministry has set up a Web site to warn kids about amateur tattoos parlors that don't observe sanitary precautions.

tattoo artist novel 88 (photo credit: )
tattoo artist novel 88
(photo credit: )
Most kids spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, which is why the Health Ministry is going there to tell them about tattoos and piercings. It has set up a special Web site at www.tattooz.co.il (few kids are likely to go to the ministry's Web site) to warn them about charlatans and amateurs who offer tattoos and piercings without observing sanitary precautions. The main idea is that changing your skin is not a game. There is a risk of infection (including HIV and hepatitis), pain and allergies. To get the message across, the ministry cooperated with the TeenK company via the State Advertising Bureau. More than 2,500 young "opinion leaders" aged 15 to 18 from around the country are helping spread the message by word of mouth. TeenK uses groups of these opinion leaders to tell kids to go to the Web site and learn about safety if they insist on getting tattoos and piercing. FIGHT AGAINST COUNTERFEIT PILLS A unit to fight pharmaceutical crime has been established by the Health Ministry. The World Health Organization said the phenomenon is global, and that 10 percent of all medications are counterfeit. The unit was launched as part of the ministry's pharmaceutical division and in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, including the Israel Police, the Customs Authority and others. There are 14 similar units in other countries. Its tasks will include dealing with counterfeit drugs and cosmetics, securing marketing pipelines so that Israeli consumers receive effective and safe products, and the monitoring of drugs sold illegally in kiosks. A pharmacist has been appointed to run it, with the help of an expert in investigations. Members of the public may send queries and information to Modiin@eliav.health.gov.il. RAMBAM TO BE SHELTERED BY DONOR The Health Ministry has failed to give Haifa's Rambam Medical Center enough money to build an underground facility to cope with emergencies like last year's Second War in Lebanon. Now billionaire shipping magnate Sammy Ofer has donated $25 to Rambam. Most of the money - about $17 million - will go to construct a subterranean, 500-bed facility immune to rocket attacks. The rest will go to renovate the main building, which houses the surgical, urological and ear, nose and throat wards. The donation is reportedly one of the biggest ever by a private individual to any Haifa public institution. The hospital administration, headed by director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar, is thrilled by the donation after being turned down by the ministry. The 84-year-old Ofer owns the Zim shipping company, the Royal Caribbean cruise line and half of Mizrahi Bank, and reportedly has assets of $3 billion.