The European Union, in partnership with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), provided three ventilators for the Cantonal hospital “Dr. Irfan Ljubijankic” in Bihac to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Policy of the Una-Sana Canton. High-quality ventilators are intended to provide breath support for adult, paediatric and infant patients with respiratory insufficiency or respiratory failure.
Head of Operations Section for Justice, Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform at the EU Delegation to BiH Nicolas Bizel, handed over the ventilators to Director of the Cantonal Hospital in Bihac Hajrudin Havić and underlined the EU’s continued assistance to BiH in fight against COVID19. “The European Union is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most loyal partner and I am delighted to have the opportunity to deliver what was promised. From the beginning of this crisis, the EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina has worked continuously to procure the necessary medical equipment, proving that working together is a key to overwhelm crisis. To support the country’s response to COVID-19, we have secured 80.5 million EUR in grants to save lives and jobs, and another 250 million EUR via Macro-Financial Assistance. The EU is also helping the most vulnerable through the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations,”, said Bizel.
In addition to three ventilators, the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and DRC also distributed items such as antibacterial solution, gloves, masks and protective suits to the six EU-funded migrant and refugee reception centres, the Primary Health Care centres, the Federation Ministry of Health and humanitarian and volunteer organizations.
“The DRC is happy to support the Cantonal hospital in Bihac, together with our partners. The ventilators will improve the quality of life-saving medical services for citizens of Una-Sana Canton and for the migrant population, and help ease some of the burden that committed health care professionals continue to shoulder,” said Nicola Bay, DRC Country Director in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressing admiration for the doctors and nurses who were on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The DRC, ECHO and the Cantonal hospital in Bihac have in the past cooperated on a number of projects which have resulted in increased quality of the medical services.
“I am thankful to our friends, DRC and the EU, for this precious donation. The Cantonal Hospital had warned about the lack of medical equipment, which makes this donation even more important for all my colleagues, the real heroes in scrubs,” emphasized Director Havić.
Based on the most urgent needs identified by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities, the EU pledged a total of € 80.5 million to help the country in response to COVID-19, including € 7 million for immediate medical needs. The value of the ventilators donated to the Cantonal Hospital in Bihać is € 123.830.
Around 9.000 refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are currently present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of whom some 3.200 are estimated to be living outside the official accommodation facilities. Many sleep in abandoned buildings and have limited access to water and sanitation services. Thanks to EU-funded humanitarian projects, the DRC provides them with assistance such as the distribution of sleeping bags, blankets, warm jackets, shoes and food.
The EU continues to provide humanitarian healthcare and protection services both to the people accommodated in the temporary reception centers all over the country and those living outside. As the pandemic can have dire consequences among the most marginalized, the DRC makes sure that all refugees, migrants and asylum seekers have access to healthcare, irrespective of their status.