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Friday 25th May 2018

Healthcare in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3rd April 2007

The war in Bosnia destroyed pretty much everything in its path and among the casualties was the country’s healthcare system.


Pre-war healthcare in Bosnia was primitive in many ways. Primary care was simple and did little to educate citizens in healthy living and disease prevention. As a result the country relied heavily on curative medicine by specialist doctors in high-tech hospitals which resulted in an unsustainably costly system.

Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is trying to carve out an efficient decentralised healthcare system based on equality. The country faces many challenges as it strives to move forward. Over half the population was displaced during the war and 10% was killed or wounded. A third of the country’s hospitals were destroyed or severely damaged and around 30% of healthcare workers either emigrated or were killed. In a country struggling to recover economically, the health of the nation is suffering. 50% of the adult population reports health problems ranging from those which have an impact on their daily activities to chronic ailments. Many citizens are unemployed and therefore lack health insurance let alone the money to maintain a basic standard of healthy living.

Hope is on the horizon though for this war-ravaged country. With assistance from the World Bank, The Basic Health Project has been established to create a rudimentary system of primary health care, public health education and disease control. Its main aims are to establish a cost-effective primary health-care system, improve the management of decentralised healthcare systems and to reduce losses in productivity due to preventable illness, disability and premature deaths. The project also plans to address issues of inequality and inequity within the healthcare system with the eventual aim of providing equal access to quality healthcare by all citizens.

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