Presented EU project on health sector reform in BiH worth 10 million euros

The new project of the European Union for the improvement of the preventive and primary health care sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina “EU support for health sector reforms”, whose value is 10 million euros, was presented today in Sarajevo.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU’s Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Johann Sattler, said that prevention is always in the first place, just like health, and that this was learned in the last three years with the emergence of a pandemic that changed the lives of many.

“There have been changes in our programs and we have placed a much greater emphasis on the field of healthcare,” he pointed out.

Sattler reminded that in the last three years, they secured more than one hundred million euros for the suppression of the pandemic and the health sector, of which 20 million euros were spent on vaccines, equipment and the cold chain, and 70 million euros were spent on supporting the economy.

He assesses that the economy is slowly getting back “on its feet”, better than expected in the past three years, and he was pleased to announce the continuity of support for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He pointed out that the sustainability of prevention of primary health care should be ensured within the framework of three goals, namely capacity building, development of policies to improve services, and improvement of primary health care throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He emphasized that the pandemic showed weaknesses in the health system and that the project should address some of those weaknesses.

The special representative of the World Health Organization for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erwin Cooreman, said that this is an important step forward for the public health system and that the project was designed as part of wider EU support.

He emphasized that coordination will be led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the World Bank, and that it is a long-awaited project.

“Obviously, something is not working, and that is exactly what the project is planning to deal with in the next four years, and there are reforms related to the improvement of new efficiencies and ensuring that health care services are more responsive to the needs of the population,” he said.

The project, he said, will focus on primary health care, not on hospitals, because 95 percent of diseases in the country are non-communicable diseases of a chronic nature.

He emphasized that they have strategic documents that they will translate into concrete activities.

The head of UNICEF’s office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rownak Khan, said that investments in healthcare come at the right time, and that UNICEF will work on mental health, child nutrition, immunization and development within the project.

The head of the World Bank Office for BiH and Montenegro, Christopher Sheldon, expressed satisfaction with the signing of the Memorandum on the establishment of a multi-partner fund.

“It is about a fund that brought together the EU, the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF, and it is a confirmation of a multi-year partnership to improve socio-economic and any other development in BiH”, he pointed out.

The event was also attended by representatives of the relevant ministries of the entity and responsible health institutions of the Brčko District of BiH, as well as representatives of the Office of the State IPA Coordinator.

On that occasion, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the European Union as a donor and the World Health Organization, the World Bank and UNICEF, which will implement the project.

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