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Bosnia lists Covid-19 on List of Occupational Diseases


With the aim of greater protection of health workers, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Labor and Social Policy Vesko Drljaca included Covid-19 on the list of occupational diseases.

Prof. dr. Zijah Rifatbegovic, head of the Clinic for Surgery at the University Medical Center Tuzla, is one of 512 health workers from the Tuzla Canton who is infected with COVID 19. Like his colleagues, he has been on the front lines since the beginning, and was part of the Tuzla University Medical Center team who helped colleagues in Novi Pazar in the fight against coronavirus.

Rifatbegovic believes that the inclusion of COVID 19 on the list of occupational diseases is very important, because a large number of health workers are exposed to the constant possibility of infection with the COVID 19 virus.

”I had COVID-19 about four months ago, in moderate form. The clinical picture was quite demanding for me with the symptomatology, but I was lucky that I did not have severe respiratory problems and that certainly enabled my recovery to be somewhat faster,” said Rifatbegovic.

The president of the Independent Vocational Trade Union of FBiH Healthcare Workers, Zijad Latifovic, said that this decision was a fundamental request of the Trade Union.

This decision significantly improves the rights of workers from employment, since occupational diseases are treated in such a way that the worker is entitled to one hundred percent salary.

”In that rulebook, there is no discrimination that only health workers were written, but it is written that COVID-19 is an occupational disease. In essence, this means that all employees who are infected with COVID 19 due to the nature of their work are entitled to a 100 percent salary,” said Latifovic.

The President of the Medical Chamber of the Federation of BiH, Amila Bećirovic, points out that a decisive algorithm for determining COVID 19 as an occupational disease, which implies a good work history, ie proving the connection between the disease and exposure at the workplace, will most likely be needed.

”Of course, the most important will be the correct epidemiological history, in order to distinguish where the infection occurred, what are the working hours of employees, how much and when he used days off, whether he worked in shifts, the health of his family, whether he attended gatherings outside of work and the like. Furthermore, the clinical picture will have to be taken into account, as well as the positive findings of diagnostic methods and procedures that can objectify the disease,” said Bećirovic.

After publication in the Official Gazette, this decision will be implemented in all cantons in the Federation of BiH.

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