BiH faces Great Problem of Lack of Pediatricians

One of the biggest problems in the entire country and in the future could be the lack of pediatricians.

In the Federation of BiH, one of the entities, there were around 250 pediatricians in 2016 and 129 in the RS, which by nature is insufficient for the whole country.

More than 15 pediatricians in the RS have only two regional centers, namely Banja Luka and Doboj.

When it comes to the FBiH, West Herzegovina Canton did not have any employed pediatricians in primary health care in 2016, while two worked in Posavina and three in Bosnia Podrinje Canton (BPK) Gorazde.

“The consequences are already visible for patients, and the best example is Sarajevo Canton, where there were the highest number of pediatricians in primary care – 38, but not enough to provide adequate health care. As of February 20, there were 224 pediatricians in the FBiH and several have passed the specialist exam to date, which is 230 pediatricians, which means 20 less than in 2016,” says doctor Fahrija Skokic, the President of the Association of Pediatricians of BiH.

The main reason for the shortage of pediatricians is the inadequate planning in health care and the transfer of children to family medicine offices.

While working at the Department of Pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine in Tuzla, Dr. Skokic realized that students love and want to specialize in pediatrics.

Former RS Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Slobodan Stanic, also warns of poor health planning in BiH.

“For the most part, physicians choose their specialization, not according to the needs of the system. It is the system that should plan the needs, even if it knows when the retirement of individual doctors. It is a very complex process,” says Dr. Stanic.

He recalls that many years ago a projection of health planning was made in BiH, where both ministries were involved.

“Then a well-known world expert on health care planning told us that in 2019 and until 2023, we will have a problem of shortage of doctors due to the change of generations, retirements and sick leave. That was known seven to eight years ago,” Dr. Stanic says.

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